TOC Made a U-Turn & Restored ‘Defamatory’ Article; Refused to Comply with PM’s Request


Yesterday (5 September 2019) was an exciting day.

Firstly, it was my niece’s rabbit birthday. Secondly, the first step to an election, the formation of the electoral boundaries committee, was implemented, which means we’d be going to the voting stations in less than six or nine months. And thirdly, it was the deadline for The Online Citizen to comply with PM Lee’s request to take down an article and Facebook post, and post an apology, or our PM is going to take legal action against the Chief Editor of the site.

At 6:30 p.m., about an hour after news of the electoral boundaries committee was revealed, Terry Xu from TOC finally posted an update.

And no, he’s not posting an apology.

In fact, he made a U-turn—mere hours after receiving the letter from PM Lee last Sunday, the article in question was removed. But yesterday, it miraculously came back, and was updated with an additional paragraph attached with the PM’s letter.

Claimed to be “Merely Republishing The Words Uttered by Your Siblings”

Before anything, here’s something you need to know: this isn’t a case of fake news, but a civil case between PM Lee and TOC. TOC published something “untrue”, so PM Lee has the rights to sue him for damages.

To recap, the Press Secretary of PM Lee sent a letter to Terry Xu last Sunday, requesting him to do these by 4 September 2019:

  • Remove the article from his website
  • Remove the Facebook post
  • Publish an apology
  • Not to publish these kinds of allegations again

TOC responded yesterday with a letter of their own, saying that they won’t be complying with the request, and even restored the article.

In its letter signed by Terry, he claimed that he didn’t think the article was defamatory, and that he was “merely republishing the words uttered by your siblings”.

However, he did agree that readers might misinterpret the part whereby PM Lee was removed as an executor and trustee of the Will of Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

He then signed off by proclaiming his love for Singapore and Singaporeans.

Lest you’ve not been following the news, the whole issue is about the dispute between PM Lee and his siblings on the fate of Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s house after he passed on. It started out on what the house should be used for, and eventually led to the siblings criticizing PM Lee openly online.

And here’s something you might have missed out after being drowned in bubble tea articles: one of the siblings, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, has also attended TOC’s fundraising dinner which occurred not too long ago.

As of now, TOC is still extremely active, and is constantly reminding people to join their Telegram channel or join their paid subscription at $6 a month or $60 a year.