BLOGGER Roy Ngerng has agreed terms to pay Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong S$150,000 (US$108,996) in damages for defamation.
In May 2014, Ngerng had written a post on his blog alleging that Lee had channeled money from Singapore’s state pension, the Central Provident Fund (CPF), to sovereign wealth fund GIC, following which Lee’s lawyers issued Ngerng with a letter demanding that the post be taken down, along with social media posts linking to the original article.
On Monday morning, representatives from both sides reached an agreement on the terms of payment.
Ngerng will have to pay S$30,000 (US$21,802) for the cost of the court proceedings by Wednesday, while the sum for damages will be paid over an agreed schedule, which will take 17 years to pay in full.
To help pay for his court fees, Ngerng reached out to netizens with a crowdfunding campaign in 2014, which managed to raise more than S$100,000 (US$72,696).
In December last year, the Singapore High Court ordered Ngerng to pay Lee S$150,000 in damages after Ngerng had been found guilty of defamation and issued a public apology admitting that the allegation was “false and completely without foundation.”
According to Today Online, while previous defamation cases involving political leaders had awarded damages exceeding S$300,000 (US$218,087), the judge had reduced the amount substantially due to Ngerng’s “comparatively low standing.”
On his Facebook account, Ngerng posted that he had learned some lessons from the episode:
“These [two] years since I was sued [haven’t] been easy. There have been ups and downs.
“I should have been careful with how I say things. I am thankful to have reached the settlement with the prime minister.”