OPINION: Singapore leader flounder in the face of online criticism

South China Morning Post, 8 Jun 2014
Political leaders in Southeast Asia are spooked by escalating online dissent and have no clue what to do except implement draconian legislation or file lawsuits, according to analysts.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's lawyer says the blogger, 33-year-old Roy Ngerng, had made statements accusing Lee of "criminal misappropriation" of the Central Provident Fund (CPF), the state pension fund.
Described as a David vs Goliath case, the lawsuit in Singapore is grabbing headlines. It is the first time a Singaporean leader has hauled a blogger to court for defamatory online comments.
Critics say Lee, the highest paid prime minister in the world, is acting like a bully, while others say it is important for Lee to sue the blogger to ensure slander and libel does not become rife.
"This situation may be unfortunate for Lee, since he has consciously been trying to cultivate a more approachable image for himself and his People's Action Party since coming to office, as seen in his efforts to get on Facebook, wear pink shirts, take selfies and so on," said political scientist Dr Chong Ja Lan, an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore.
"It is conceivable that people may begin to wonder about his inclinations." Full story
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