Connect with us

Court Cases

Defamation hearing involving LHY, Ministers Shanmugam and Balakrishnan swiftly concludes as defendent is unrepresented

The High Court quickly concluded the hearing of defamation suits filed by Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan after Lee Hsien Yang was unrepresented, leaving damages and costs to be determined over comments made by LHY regarding the Ridout Road saga.



The defamation case involving Mr Lee Hsien Yang (LHY) and Ministers K Shanmugam and Vivian Balakrishnan commenced and swiftly concluded within 15 minutes in the High Court on Thursday (2 May).

The ministers, present and represented by lawyer Davinder Singh, left the determination of damages and costs to the court after affirming details in their affidavits evidence-in-chief, while LHY was absent and unrepresented.

Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan sued LHY for defamation over remarks he made on 23 July last year concerning the Ridout Road saga.

In a Facebook post, LHY wrote that “two ministers have leased state-owned mansions from the agency that one of them controls,” and mentioned having felled trees and “getting state-sponsored renovations.”

Mr Shanmugam oversees the Singapore Land Authority (SLA)  as the Minister for Law.

According to Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan’s allegations, LHY’s post accused them of acting corruptly and for personal gain by having SLA give them preferential treatment and paying for renovations to 26 and 31 Ridout Road.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) released a statement a few weeks prior stating that there had been no wrongdoing or preferential treatment given to the two ministers. Ministerial statements were also issued on 3 July last year by the two ministers to profess their innocence in front of fellow parliamentarians.

In July last year, the ministers sent lawyers’ letters to LHY, threatening to sue unless he apologized, withdrew his allegations, and paid damages to be donated to charity. In response, LHY did not apologize and maintains that his statements do not imply corruption or personal gain. He has criticized the ministers for demanding what he considers a “false apology” for accusations he never made.

On 14 August, the two ministers’ legal team initially requested the court’s permission to serve the papers on LHY in the United Kingdom, where he currently resides, considering the Singapore court as the most appropriate venue for the case.

LHY stated in 2017 that he was “being forced to leave the country” amid a dispute over the future of his family home at 38 Oxley Road, which belonged to the late founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. He and his wife have been hounded by the Singapore Police Force for an investigation into an alleged case of perjury.

In their affidavits, Mr Shanmugam and Dr Balakrishnan highlighted their prominent roles as ministers in Singapore and underscored the relevance of the alleged defamatory statements to events in Singapore.

By 16 August, the court permitted the papers to be served on LHY outside its jurisdiction, the two ministers served legal papers concerning a defamation suit LHY via Facebook Messenger on 15 September last year.

LHY, who did not enter into appearance, had previously expressed a preference for UK as the venue for the litigation. However, the two ministers, advised by their legal team, argue that Singapore is “clearly and distinctly the most appropriate forum for the trial.”

The Cabinet ministers sought permission from the court and then served papers to him via Facebook Messenger.

As LHY did not enter an appearance against the lawsuits, Justice Goh Yihan ruled in favour of the two ministers in November last year, ordering that LHY pay both ministers’ costs.

Justice Goh also granted injunctions against LHY, restraining him from making defamatory allegations against the two ministers.

The judge noted the relevance of the court’s indignation to the “injury” in the ministers’ opening statement, where he highlighted that the cases the ministers cited do not support the proposition as submitted.

The ministers stated in their opening statement, “The natural indignation of the court at the injury caused to the claimant is a factor to be taken into account in determining the appropriate quantum of general damages to be awarded in any given case. It is also a factor that the court will consider in awarding aggravated damages.”

Mr Singh responded by saying that he would address the question of the gravity of the allegations made and, in this connection, the court must take into consideration the indignation or reaction of the court for the assessment of damages, as stated in his written submissions.

Justice Goh further directed the counsels to create a table of damages awarded in previous cases, noting that the closing statement submitted includes a table concerning many cases involving the Prime Minister.

In response, the counsel acknowledged the direction and said that they would submit on the relevance of the Prime Minister’s cases and LHY’s Facebook publication, and would also address the distinctions in cases involving the Prime Minister. A more comprehensive table of defamation cases, including those not involving the Prime Minister, will be made.

The ministers previously proposed a S$25,000 charity donation as part of a broader retraction and apology before the commencement of the legal proceeding; however, they did not suggest a specific amount for court consideration. Typically, defamation damages in Singapore begin at S$250,000 in high court cases.

Justice Goh directed the counsel for the two ministers to tender the written submissions by 9 May 2024. While the hearing was scheduled for two days, there will be no more hearings on this case, with the remaining proceedings to be conducted via correspondence.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Does anyone think the judge wants to break his $million rice bowl?

when will old man jump out……tsk tsk tsk

Cant be bothered…

Elite vs Elite

They can go and cut each other’s throat, burn their homes..
Cant be bothered.

Wont even watch the bonfire…

Very very much the Judiciary mirrors their political masters – same game playing years and years in LINEAR Mode.

I don’t SEE JUSTICE in the whole KEPPEL CORPN BRIBERY affairs. Worst it was NO Parliament’s statutory business to STEP IN TO HOLD Keppel’s HANDS *** BUT they DID it ***

Who says the PAP NOT POPULIST, pure white?

Lhy can easily pay that 250k and more..the whole Familee are billionaires..
But its the principle of the matter here..
LHY should give LHL and those 2 ridout punks “a tight slap” by just ignoring them….as far as its possible.

Exactly what these 2 devils want..for LSY to not be present or represented.

Nearly 5/10 citizens certainly can VOUCH PAP theatre is the same, year after year after year.

The drama script is unchanged. The judges are getting old no new tricks. Lucifer Wong is there for the MONEY, that’s all, and acting to be pliant to draw crowds. The Police revert to wearing shorts.

Is the PAP fit for the MUSEUM exhibit?

Wah Ah Yang message to them is….”Send me your invoice for billing! I can well afford to pay and more shits will be coming!”😆😆😆

This legal case in which victories granted to plaintiffs when defence is in absentia, is needed to contribute to making SG as a legal hub.

Recusal by making a verbal statement is worth gold? Legal? Acceptable? Actually recusal MUST BE AND OUGHT to be SEEN in actional behaviours or physical activities in my opinion –
WHICH SHOULD be the Bloody Minister MUST RESIGN, RELINGQUISH DUTIES of, as, SLA overseer before allowed to rent the BW Bungalows.

Without seenable actions, MERELY saying, ‘I recuse’ to which I say, BALLS to U.

They may cite their legal victories followed by damages awarded, and their one hundred percent record in SillyPore courts, but, … do they not know that as public figures which they are, and in the courts of public opinion, … all of these victories are but mere proof that when you hold, wield and exert power, … black can be white and of course, inside is not within !!!

Continued persecution , prosecution and legal victories in SillyPore courts suggests, … they’re totally blind and entirely oblivious to all of the above, .. still !!!

How many scams do these people want to commit using State organs? It is despicable. Voters in Yishun and Bukit Timah GRCS, please wave these two Ministers goodbye in the next elections. Is there anymore appetite for this kind of sick actions using the Courts?