Sunday, January 6, 2013

Is Alex Au Sue-Proof?

 Alex dodges another one.

Lao gay Alex Au got another warning letter about his recent blog post on AIM which insinuated that some PAP members, including the PM himself, were corrupt. The warning was delivered by famous PAP attack legal pit bull, Davinder Singh. Alex Au, as usual to save his own skin which is the natural thing to do for any of us, apologised reluctantly and took down his blog post. Nevertheless, Chee Soon Juan or the late JBJ would not have backed down though and relished the chance of being political martyrs. Alex has more sense, just like Vincent Wijeysingha who apologised to Tan Chuan-Jin for some other defamatory comments.

This is not the first time lao Au got into trouble. Actually the 3rd time since last year - 1st was his blog post that had fleeting mention of Shanmugam's affair, the 2nd was his comments that the courts protected plastic-looking Woffles Wu. I would think this would be the last chance for Alex Au before the insecure powers that be castrate him as Alex seems bent on doing what he does best. 

Really, Alex Au whether you like his postings or not, his SDP politics or not, is an insightful blogger to agree or disagree with. But to cow him into silence and make him apologise, this style cannot work anymore and is going to boomerang hard on the PAP, especially when there is a SMC By-E coming close. Alex is not The Real Singapore or that type of blogger which deserve to be slapped back by the PAP for stupid rumour-mongering or just simply, stupidity.

Making Alex gulp and swallow his own words does not make him wrong in the first place in today's thinking. Maybe our parents' and grandparents' generation might think that sort of truism. The new truism is that we just think that Alex was bullied into shutting up instead and that maybe he was on the right track hence the need for him to be warned legally for crossing the line. Nonetheless, for the PAP, it is damned if they do or don't as if they sit on their fat butts and not threaten to sue, it also means to the PAP critic that their silence meant their guilt. Anyway, IMHO the threat to sue, is worse than the remaining silent and nonchalant in an age where we are easily intolerant of any high-handedness by the ruling party. Good job PAP on screwing youself again, and hope you lose in the By-E! Bye bye!

Blogger Au to remove post after PM Lee takes legal action
Website founder served letter of demand, will post apology for parts of blog post on PAP town council deals that defamed PM
04:45 AM Jan 05, 2013
by Ng Jing Yng

SINGAPORE - Exactly two weeks after he wrote a blog post on the sale of computer systems used by town councils, the founder of the popular Yawning Bread website, Mr Alex Au, has been served with a legal warning by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to take it down or face legal action.

Senior Counsel Davinder Singh of the law firm Drew & Napier, acting on behalf of PM Lee, sent the letter of demand to Mr Au yesterday. It is the third time in the past 11 months that Mr Au has been taken to task over his blog posts.

In the letter, Mr Singh said the article, headlined "PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback", taken together with 21 other comments posted by readers, can be taken to suggest that Mr Lee is guilty of corruption in relation to the transaction between the PAP town councils and the company Action Information Management (AIM).

It added that the post could be intended to mean that the Prime Minister would "abuse his powers to cover up the matter or prevent any investigation into (Mr Lee's) corruption".

"These are false and baseless allegations," Mr Singh charged, and demanded that the article be taken down immediately. He further demanded that Mr Au publish an apology and an undertaking not to make further allegations of a similar nature on his website.

Mr Singh noted that PM Lee has suffered damage to his reputation and incurred costs as a result of the article. However, he said Mr Lee would not claim damages and costs if Mr Au apologised and removed the post, in keeping with his stand on a similar incident on Feb 19 last year involving the Temasek Review Emeritus (TRE) website. In that episode, TRE removed and apologised for an article which had, among other things, questioned Madam Ho Ching's position in Temasek Holdings, after being served with a similar letter of demand.

Contacted yesterday, Mr Au acknowledged the defamatory nature of the blog post and comments, and said he would remove them.

However, he added: "This should not distract from the issue of the sale of town council software to Action Information Management."

"From what has been disclosed so far, reasonable people would have many questions, and while news of me getting a lawyer's letter might be temporarily more 'newsy', it is more important for Singapore that these questions be answered, not avoided."

The article in question, written on Dec 21, relates to the ongoing exchange of words between the Coordinating Chairman of the PAP town councils, Mr Teo Ho Pin, and Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) Chairman Sylvia Lim over computer systems used to manage PAP town councils. It began when a Town Council Management Report released on Dec 14 flagged AHTC's less-than-stellar performance in management of Service & Conservancy Charge arrears, and that it did not complete its submission for the new Corporate Governance indicator.

Explaining the poor performance, Ms Lim said AIM had terminated its contract with AHTC to provide IT services in August 2011. As a result, she said, the town council had to develop its own system.

In subsequent exchanges, Ms Lim questioned why the rights to the software were sold to AIM, which is owned by the PAP, and if this was in the public interest. Mr Teo followed with a detailed explanation of the sale, and said the deal was done to benefit all 14 town councils.

Mr Au has been served with legal warnings in the past over his blog posts. In February last year, Law Minister K Shanmugam sent him a lawyer's letter demanding that he remove a post containing allegedly defamatory comments about the minister's personal conduct. Mr Au complied and removed the article.

Five months later, in July, he wrote a post alleging that plastic surgeon Woffles Wu had received special treatment over a speeding offence. The post was deemed to be in contempt of court, and Mr Au subsequently apologised.
Taking blogs and websites to task

The lawyer's letter served yesterday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on blogger Alex Au is the fourth instance in less than a year where political leaders here have taken blogs or websites to task for putting up allegedly defamatory statements.

February, 2012: On Feb 14, Law Minister K Shanmugam's lawyers issued a letter to blogger Alex Au, asking him to remove a Feb 8 post containing allegedly defamatory personal allegations about the minister. Mr Au complied.

Five days later, Temasek Review Emeritus Editor Richard Wan was served a lawyer's by PM Lee. Mr Lee's lawyers wanted Mr Wan to retract a Feb 16 post containing allegedly defamatory remarks and to publish an apology on the website. The post had, among other things, questioned Madam Ho Ching's position in Temasek Holdings. The website removed the post and apologised.

November, 2012: The Real Singapore website was asked to apologise twice over a defamatory post concerning Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. The website had reposted a letter published on Temasek Review Emeritus - which asked for the National Service disruption list that Dr Ng had said would be made public - and added a defamatory headline. Dr Ng's lawyers rejected the first apology which was "not sincere or unqualified".

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