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Singapore’s founding PM Lee Kuan Yew once sued Devan Nair in Canadian Court, but lost

Minister Shanmugam emphasized that Lee Hsien Yang, currently residing in the UK, should avail himself of the opportunity to defend himself in “full view of the Singapore public” if he believes the defamation claims against him are baseless.

Given the Singaporean Ministers’ hesitance to pursue the case against LHY in the UK, it’s difficult to overlook the sharp contrast with the late Lee Kuan Yew’s resolute pursuit of legal remedies beyond the confines of Singapore.



A burgeoning legal battle is taking shape in Singapore as the nation’s Law and Home Affairs Minister, Mr K Shanmugam, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, advance a defamation lawsuit against Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY).

The two ministers served legal papers to LHY via Facebook Messenger in mid-September with the court’s approval in hand, claiming the challenges of serving him in the UK, where he currently resides.

Previously, LHY has suggested to the two ministers to sue him in London courts, since the statement they took offence to was made in the UK.

LHY  also highlighted that London is known to be a jurisdiction of choice for defamation suits.

On Thursday (4 Oct) LHY on Thursday proposed independent arbitration,  where both parties choose an arbitrator of high international standing, and the ministers could nominate a retired Singapore Supreme Court judge as their arbitrator.

He believed that the proceedings would be conducted in confidence, but the decision would be made public, and it would be final and binding on all parties involved.

However, Mr Shanmugam insisted that LHY should seize the opportunity to defend himself in “full view of the Singapore public” if he believes the defamation claims against him are baseless.

He reiterated that they had received legal advice indicating that LHY’s statements concerning him and Dr Balakrishnan were both untrue and defamatory, and claiming tat LHY did not retract his statements and offer an apology despite given opportunity, leaving them with no recourse but to initiate legal action.

He argued that Mr Lee’s statements relate to events in Singapore and were primarily intended for a Singaporean audience. The primary target audience was not in the United Kingdom.

Minister Shanmugam further alluded that what LHY really wants is special treatment, “He wants to be treated differently from Singaporeans (and even foreigners) who are sued in Singapore for defamation.”

“Mr Lee should explain why he is entitled to make libellous statements, and yet be exempt from the rules that apply to the rest of us.”

A stark contrast to the resolute pursuit of legal battles beyond Singapore’s borders by the Late LKY

While Mr Shanmugam has emphasized the significance of LHY defending himself in a Singaporean court with the public as observers, many Singaporeans are raising questions about the apparent lack of awareness by the two ministers regarding their ability to pursue their civil legal dispute in the UK.

In the UK, they would also have the opportunity for cross-examination in an open court setting.

Meanwhile, some sceptics wonder whether the ministers’ legal team excels primarily in local court cases but becomes hesitant when facing international ones.

While the two Singapore Ministers may appear reluctant to take the case to the UK, where LHY currently resides, it’s hard not to draw a parallel comparison with the determination and will of the late Lee Kuan Yew (LKY), Singapore’s founding father, who would pursue his legal rights even beyond borders.

Notably, LKY who is also LHY’s father, once brought a defamation lawsuit to the Ontario Court in Canada against the former President of the Republic of Singapore, Devan Nair.

In 1999, during an interview with The Globe and Mail on March 29, Devan Nair labelled LKY as “an increasingly self-righteous know-all” surrounded by “department store dummies.”

Offended by Devan Nair’s remarks in the article, in June 1999, Lee sued Nair, The Globe and Mail, along with four other defendants.

LKY alleged that the article contained libellous statements that had damaged his reputation, causing him to be “brought into hatred, ridicule, and contempt.”

Devan Nair, in his Statement of Defence and Counterclaim, argued that Lee had abused the legal process by bringing the defamation lawsuit for the improper purpose of silencing his critics, including Nair.

Lee then brought a motion to have Nair’s counterclaim thrown out of court.

Lee argued that Nair’s counterclaim disclosed no reasonable cause of action and constituted an inflammatory attack on the integrity of the Singapore government.

However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ultimately ruled in favour of Devan Nair, refusing to throw out Nair’s counterclaim.

The court held that Lee had abused the litigating process, and therefore Nair had a reasonable cause of action.

The court believed that Lee’s lawsuit was intended to silence critics and that there was an ongoing and pervasive threat associated with Lee’s actions, including the publication of confidential information from Nair’s personal records and correspondence, as well as threats related to Nair’s pension.

When reflecting on the past, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the late Mr Lee’s unwavering determination to pursue his legal rights, even when it meant taking his case to foreign soil, as evidenced by his lawsuit in Canada, which he eventually lost.

Fast forward to the present day, Singaporeans are left pondering the reluctance of the ministers to pursue their legal action against Lee Hsien Yang in a London court, a known jurisdiction of choice for defamation suits, which raises intriguing questions.

Are the ministers’ reservations about engaging in international litigation indicative of a lack of confidence in their legal team’s abilities on the global stage? Or do they find comfort in wielding their legal expertise within the familiar confines of their home ground?

It’s noteworthy that Singaporean ministers have maintained an unblemished track record in defamation suits within their own jurisdiction.

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>”it’s impossible not to be impressed by the late Mr Lee’s unwavering determination to pursue his legal rights,”

now that’s what i call cocksucking a dead zombie . the court didn’t just make him a loser, it showed the world or at least canada that zombie lee was shamelessly abusing his wealth to file petty lawsuits, he was also doxing Nair and people close to him AND threatening to take away his pension!!
as stated in the article itself.

“publication of confidential information from Nair’s personal records and correspondence, as well as threats related to Nair’s pension.”

BALLess/Scrotomless cowards,JUST LIKE like kampong MONGRELs – woof woof woo!!!!!!!!

Yet again we just have to look at the recent KOM case. Overseas judiciaries can accumulate evidence to fine Keppel 422m. Back in own courts however, Shanmi kayu agencies cannot “find sufficient evidence” to persecute the KOM directors. Which system is would monkeys then choose when they must save face?

Why would they want to take risks to loose their reputations and PAP’s credibility in application of justice where KY has already set a clear precedent to warn them NOT to fight against their Singapore opponents overseas when the chances of loosing is so great. Would their solicitor dare to advocate for them in other jurisdictions when in other jurisdictions, laws and arguments of laws are FIERCELY INDEPENDENT?

We lost because Canadian courts are highly bias and anti-Singapore !!

C’mon, … of course he bloody lost.

He lost, … simply because the courts outside of Sg, applied the basis and rule of law, without fear, favour or prejudice, … which the “inside is not within” Sg courts will in perpetuity be unable to discharge and uphold !!!

Of course, … he lost and rightly so too !!!

Times were different for both LKY & Devan back then. LKY went to the prison literally begging Devan not to join the Communist side.
Devan heeded, he can speak literally all Chinese dialects & was called A Wordsmith.

Pointed Q for Teo & Loong got balls or not for your boys to sue????

Why does pinky keep on sending these 2 attack dogs to hurt LHY, after going after his wife and son? Does pinky not understand he had been committing grievious sins against both LKY and Kua Geok Choo and put Singapore and Singaporeans to shame? Stop these attack dogs now. Reach out to your brother and dying sister for reconciliation before it’s too late!

Ah Yang Kam lan lah, the ppl can choose to sue your bsxkside in any court and if they are Sinkie of course they would use Sinkie Court lah. Ah Yang knows the ‘ Court which once his father own’ will let rip his ka cheng! Look at this way lah…Karma is served cold and hard to fucker Yang…remember the days when he was riding high and knew he had the protection of Father, Son amd Holy Goh? YANG WAS UNTOUCHABLE THEN! Well, now fucker Yang is crying wolf becos he NO LONGER HAS THAT PROTECTION THAT HE HAD SO… Read more »

The difference is LKY was a self-made man (for all his +ve and -ve); he knows he can stand or fall based on his own merits and convictions. But the Kayu son and his ball-carrying entourage, they are just living off the reputation of the older generations – with such a clutch mentality, they cannot lose face because their merits are insufficient to save their faces.

Just compare: LKY-era, pap can get 85+% of votes. Kayu Son-era pap gets only 60% last GE. Numbers don’t lie (aka speaking truth):
1) Don’t lose face, also cannot.
2) Lose face, whose fault?

The UK verdict will be the same. It is the reason they don’t want to sue in UK. High probability of a UK judge telling the lawyer not to waste the Court’s time. We all know the verdict in a Singapore Court. So convince the population using the UK courts.

He argued that Mr Lee’s statements relate to events in Singapore and were primarily intended for a Singaporean audience. The primary target audience was not in the United Kingdom….

I guess … similar to they always say that Singapore politics is for Singaporean …
But when common Singaporean talk about politics, they got POFMA or sued till pants drop.

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Of course those 2 south asians didn’t get special treatment renting the ridout humongous good class bungalows at special low low rental prices right? Somebody also did not get special treatment renting the humongous good class bungalow from the kakis who are under his control and under his performance appraisal right? They didn’t get special treatment in the expensive renovation and certainly no special treatment cutting down all those old trees and no special treatment building a private swimming pool in the humongous compounds right? No special treatment at all, hor???

My condolences to Son of Lee , LHY being sued by LKY’s talents

The 2 of you Ridout gang please don’t get us involved with your disputes to save your faces. Don’t say it’s for Singaporean audiences and all that BS. All along you guys didn’t GAF about us and now you sell and drag our names into your little spat. And also please verify who is footing all this court bills and legal costs to save your faces? Is it coming out of your own pockets or tax payer monies? Because if it’s the latter, we disapprove so use your own monies.