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Breaking apart Minister K Shanmugam’s ‘countless’ defamation suits claim

Opinion: In his Facebook post about the defamation suit against Lee Hsien Yang, Minister K Shanmugam claimed that ‘countless’ Singaporeans have sued for defamation.

However, data from the Singapore Courts indicates 304 defamation cases since 2000, with 10% involving political figures. Is the Law Minister’s use of ‘countless’ accurate in this context?

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by Ganga Sudhan

In the ongoing tussle between Lee Hsien Yang, the brother of the Prime Minister, and Minister K Shanmugam regarding the content of a Facebook post, the Minister posted on Facebook to justify the decision to pursue the defamation suit in the Singapore courts even though Lee Hsien Yang is based in the United Kingdom and made the post while being situated there.

In that post, he made the assertion that “countless Singaporeans have sued in the Singapore Courts for defamation that is published to people in Singapore”.

It is somewhat oxymoronic to refer to the context as “countless” while also indicating that the information is published to the public.

Looking at the data published on the Singapore Courts website (https://www.judiciary.gov.sg/) regarding the cases heard, there appear to be 304 cases which involved defamation between March 2000 and August 2023 (which is the time period available to search through the portal).

Considering that the total number of cases for that period is 9,157 according to the overall search results, that translates to 3.3% of the cases heard over the past 2 decades being defamation suits – which is hardly countless.

Table 1: Defamation suits involving recognisable entities in the Singapore political climate

Looking at the proportion of the 304 defamation-centred suits over this period, at least 32 appear to be related to individuals concerned with Singapore politics – which is more than 10% of defamation suits over the past 23 years.

A breakdown of the cases involving defamation are shown in Table 1 (including those involving others suing or being sued by the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor).

Table 2, meanwhile, distils the number of defamation suits according to political actors in Singapore and suggests that those with affiliation to the PAP account for 18 of the 32 defamation suits initiated and 12 defamation suits were initiated by others not associated with the PAP.

Suits Initiated

Lee Hsien Loong

11

Lee Kuan Yew

5

JB Jeyaretnam

3

Chee Siok Chin

3

Goh Chok Tong

2

Chee Soon Juan

2

SDP

1

Leong Sze Hian

1

Terry Xu

1

TOC

1

TOTAL

30

 

Table 2: List of defamation suits initiated by political entities

The numbers published, therefore do not look “countless” or substantial in terms of Singaporeans who choose to sue for defamation in the Singapore Courts.

Instead, it suggests that the Prime Minister has a remarkable number of defamation suits initiated (11 out of 48), accounting for 3.6% of all defamation suits since 2000.

As the analysis here is superficial in nature, it would be well-served for Minister Shanmugam to produce more detailed figures to correct any errors noted so that Singaporeans do not assume this analysis to be a true reflection of the rate of defamation suits initiated in Singapore in recent times.

Gutzy has written to K Shanmugam seeking clarification on his use of the term “countless,” especially in light of available statistics.

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lawyers, especially senile counsel ridout millionaire cheap $26k rental minister cannot count!

pofma shanmugum! jo teo sex in a small place – pofma your liar law or lawless ridout minister!

I m not tired of saying this: Before National Service, crooks joined army to avoid the police, now crooks joined the PAP to be protected by the police.

304 also cannot count, yet can count their million$ salary every month, hor. Dun lose face also cannot, hor.

So 304 cases is definitely a finite and manageable quantity, NOT COUNTLESS. Shouldn’t Shamni now issue a pofma against himself for misleading the public? Or he is saying he can’t count above 10 (or 20 if he also uses his toes)?

cmon lah. IIRC the other Lee made the commen on FB which is “international waters” . why they no ballz to sue ZUCC or ask their USA HQ to take down the post? waste courts’ time and money.

Thats why those 2 cant sue LHY in UK courts..cuz they have to play by UK legal rules…
PAP’s will have to behave in their courts..
No playing cheat 😂🤣😅😆 or bullying allowed.

Just be straight about it and stop talking about trends. We all know the snake is taking his and Ms V’s chances if they ever took it before the UK magistrates. Because there’s no affiliation between them and the UK courts. But on the other hand, they know it’s a sure win with the Sg court’s pliant system. They don’t even dare with our Northern neighbour’s court system. The snake has been summoned by LFL over the causeway but he know he’ll be eaten alive if taken to task there. Only a dumb person would believe this reasoning. One day… Read more »

Then it can also be said that Countless ppl have concluded by now that Kayu Boy is a mere shadow of daddy. He is always trying to to upstage his father for his own ego. But alas, Kayu means Kayu, hor – regardless what Ownself Said Ownself Otherwise. Clearly achievements – FAILED; respect from public – FAILED (getting 3 worst election results in his terms); accountability – FAILED; overseas recognition – definitely below that accorded to LKY. Only ways to better daddy are: SUE more ppl than daddy; pay Ownself more than daddy; kelong anything more than daddy. Hey, a… Read more »

Now you are not suggesting the snake minister is lying, are you? They never lie and they are never wrong, don’t you know? Pap politicians are the most honest politicians in the world. We all know a dead politician is a dead one. Since they are all brain dead, they are all technically honest.

Countless means more than the number of fingers one has. If it is more than 10, one then cannot count with his fingers, thus it becomes countless.

What a shameless snake!

he controls the laws …
he controls the police …
what a PERFECT EVIL !

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These Aren’t The Real Fight.
HERE ARE THE REAL BATTLES, RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSES.

https://realrawnews.com/2023/10/marine-corps-base-massacre/

The PM won all his 11 cases in Singapore but lost in the PUBLIC COURT as those who lost their cases, crowd funded successfully and LHL got slapped outside the Court by citizens. Shame on the PAP in repeatedly using the Courts for their “wins”.

Please, do remember, that it was this very same individual, … who decided and wrote into law, … that one individual constitutes an assembly !!!

Oso, … an egg can and will be considered a dangerous “weapon” !!!

Enough said about this privileged and state preferred “tenant” right.

All know the State Controlled Media cannot be trusted, so are the various statistics pouring out to people to accept.

Are the judiciary figures true OR FALSIFIED?

Countless cases of deplorable behaviour and depraved actions by our ministers, especially Shanmugam.

Got plenty of money and resources … Can sue ppl left right up down. Their stars biggest on the Land, surely win one. Nobody can thumb them down …

Even they could issue POFMA to interpret “1” as countless.
The deputy AG claimed POFMA also includes interpretation.

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Is the online article somewhere that LKY lost a motion against Devan Nair and another entity in Canada?

Does KS has any atom of court case wins overseas outside sg jurisdiction?

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