A diminutive David versus the mighty Goliath. This is an apt description of the defamation suit that the hubristic PM Lee Hsien Loong has taken out against the intransigent blogger Roy Ngerng for allegedly accusing him of misappropriating CPF monies. The plaintiff is the powerful and affluent prime minister who can be portrayed as the mighty Goliath. The defendant is aptly portrayed as the diminutive David who shows admirable determination as a giant killer. He is a former patient co-ordinator who has been questionably dismissed by his employer theTan Tock Seng Hospital arising out of the defamation suit against him.
It is a well-known fact that no opposition politician, or for that matter any individual or company, has ever won a defamation suit brought by the PAP Government or its leaders in Singapore. A very notable example is the pathetic experience of the late Workers' Party chief J.B. Jeyaretnam who was sued into bankruptcy by the vindictive Lee Kuan Yew for defamation. It would be a miracle for Roy Ngerng to try to win the defamation suit by PM Lee in Singapore. In this case it would be most unlikely for the diminutive David to kill the mighty Goliath.
PM Lee may claim himself to be "flame-proof" but he can only disregard the overwhelming public opinion in support of Roy Ngerng at his own peril. Roy Ngerng has already openly apologised to PM Lee and withdrawn the offending post. He has within the limit of his financial ability offered to pay $5,000 as damages but this has been rejected by PM Lee as "derisory". In fact with his colossal wealth, PM Lee could show magnanimity by accepting the $5,000 as token damages which would have endeared him to the public. However, this did not take into account the vicious gene of his notorious father who would have no compunction in bankrupting his political opponent by defamation suit. The credible amount of money that Roy Ngerng has been able to raise in his appeal to the public may only be sufficient for him to defray his legal expenses and unfortunately he will have to face the fate of bankruptcy if the amount of damages demanded by PM Lee is astronomical.
However, this could be a Pyrrhic victory for PM Lee. He will win the defamation suit against Roy Ngerng, that's for sure. He might gain legally and financially which could be meaningless but the erosion of his leadership and his party that follows will have a telling effect of his party's chances at the next general election in 2016. PM Lee has unwittingly made the hitherto little known Roy Ngerng into something of a hero by his imprudent action of taking out his defamation suit against Roy. There is a Chinese saying: What is gained cannot indemnify the loss.(得不償失).