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"Nothing improper" about public statement on Roy Ngerng's dismissal: Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Tan Tock Seng Hospital responds to a letter from blogger Roy Ngerng's lawyer that took issue with its public statement on why it had terminated Mr Ngerng's contract.

SINGAPORE: Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) has defended its statement issued on Tuesday (June 10), in which it laid out its reasons for terminating blogger Roy Ngerng's contract of employment. The hospital was responding to a letter from Mr Ngerng's lawyer, Mr M Ravi, to TTSH today.

On Tuesday, TTSH terminated Mr Ngerng's contract as a patient coordinator, due to "conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees" and misusing resources for personal pursuits.

The Health Ministry supported the decision, saying in a public statement that his "actions show a lack of integrity and are incompatible with the values and standards of behaviour expected of hospital employees".

Mr Ravi had said the Health Ministry's public support of this decision "is to be regretted". He also called for restraint in the issuing of public statements about "decisions and inferences" that are "intricately connected" to the lawsuit being brought against Mr Ngerng for allegedly defaming Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong via his blog.

"Neither Tan Tock Seng Hospital nor the Ministry of Health are parties to the civil litigation, whose final determination awaits the judgment of the Courts," said Mr Ravi. "Pending a final judgment of the Singapore Courts of the civil proceedings for defamation, that lawsuit is sub judice. Its outcome remains a matter for the Courts to determine. That is the rule of law."

In response, the hospital said in a statement that there was "nothing improper" about how it laid out the reasons for the termination.

TTSH pointed out that Mr Ngerng had, on May 23, publicly admitted that he posted a defamatory article on May 15 alleging misappropriation of funds in relation to the Central Provident Fund and described his own allegation as "false and completely without foundation".

The hospital said its June 10 statement had laid out the reasons for the termination of contract, "based on his public admission that he had defamed without basis and for misusing working time, hospital computers and facilities for his personal pursuits".  

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