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Blogger apologises to PM Lee; asks for dialogue on CPF

Mr Roy Ngerng issued an apology to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Friday (May 23) over a blogpost described by the PM’s lawyer as constituting “serious libel”.

SINGAPORE: Blogger Mr Roy Ngerng on Friday (May 23) issued an apology to Mr Lee Hsien Loong over a blogpost described by the Prime Minister’s lawyer as constituting “serious libel”.

Mr Ngerng "unreservedly apologises to Mr Lee for the distress and embarrassment caused to him by our client's allegation. He admits and acknowledges that this allegation is false and completely without foundation", lawyer M Ravi wrote in a letter to Drew & Napier, the lawyers for the Prime Minister. 

The blogger has also since posted up an official apology on his "Heart Truths" website.

A legal demand, issued by Drew & Napier on behalf of Mr Lee on May 18, demanded that Mr Ngerng remove an article on his blog containing allegations against Mr Lee, apologise, and pay damages by Friday, or face legal action.

The letter of demand was issued after Mr Ngerng posted an article, “Where your CPF Money is Going: Learning from the City Harvest Trial”, on May 15, accusing Mr Lee of misappropriating money paid by Singaporeans to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board. 

He removed the article on Monday night, but posted a new article on CPF interest rates the next day.

In the letter of apology sent to Drew & Napier today, Mr Ravi also asked for the demand for damages be dropped, "so as not to reduce our client to a most assuredly disadvantaged position", and for an opportunity to have a "frank conversation" with the Prime Minister on the issue of CPF.

In response, Drew & Napier sent a letter to Mr Ravi noting that Mr Ngerng accepts that his blogpost falsely accused Prime Minister Lee of being guilty of criminal misappropriation of CPF monies.

It said this is a "very grave and malicious allegation".

Drew & Napier stated that Mr Lee is fully entitled to damages, contrary to what Mr Ravi said in his latest letter.

They have set another deadline of 5pm on Monday (May 26) for Mr Ngerng to send over a written offer of damages and costs, failing which they say, legal proceedings will start against him.

"The damages that are offered should reflect, among other things, the gravity of the false and malicious charge," Drew & Napier said.

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