News of PM Lee Hsien Loong sending a lawyer’s letter to activist blogger Alex Au today is going viral fast and, ironically, building even greater global awareness of the whole shameful PAP-AIM saga. Our dear leader had his fave lawyer demand that Alex remove his post and apologise for defaming him. Alex’s post “PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback” had questioned the computer systems deal involving People’s Action Party (PAP), 14 town councils and Action Information Management Pte Ltd (AIM) a $2 company owned by the party.
I shall not repeat the PAP-AIM issues and Teo Ho Pin’s pathetic salvage letters which have been picked apart by numerous netizens and well-respected bloggers like Alex, Molly Meek and Diary of a Singaporean Mind. For more info, please click on the links of those blogs which provide incisive analyses and which ask sharp questions over the AIM deal that comes in 50 shades of grey.
Coincidentally, PM’s New Year present to Alex, comes just four days after I wrote my commentary which had contained an imaginary conversation between PM Lee and his father Lee Kuan Yew. This conversation (which I stress is fictitious so please don’t sue me) had concluded with Papa Lee telling Ah Boy:”You know what I think Loong? I think you have been too soft. Stick some spurs into their hides and show them who is boss and tell them to stop complaining! They will live and repent if they keep harping on the unimportant stuff…”
PM’s action of sending a lawyer’s letter to Alex, who had asked very valid and serious questions in the interest of the public, makes one wonder if he did it wholly of his own accord or if it was with a nudge (shove?) from his old man who is known for his fast and furious responses at the slightest sign of dissent.
The other question that I want to ask is just why did the PM suddenly step forward into this AIM maelstorm? After all, Teo Ho Pin the coordinating chairman of the of 14 PAP town councils, had been the one issuing the media statements to explain the sale of the town council computer system to AIM, a dormant company owned by PAP.
I had read Alex’s allegedly defamatory post before it was removed today (search online and you can still find it), and no where did he mention the PM nor accuse him of being corrupt! And yet, PM’s lawyer cleverly put up a case by sewing bits and pieces together. Alex’s post was said to contain “very serious suggestions of criminal breach of trust”, and because he referred to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau and the Attorney-General’s Chambers, “of corruption” as well, reported TODAY.
According to the papers, the lawyer had highlighted 21 comments on Alex’s post that he said, when either taken together with the blog post or read on their own, would suggest that PM Lee “is guilty of corruption in relation to the AIM transaction and will abuse his powers to cover up the matter or prevent any investigation into his corruption”.
Well, well, so now it looks like the big guns will fire even if they are not mentioned and even if the comments that they find offensive were not made by the blogger but by those who comment on the blog!
Is PM being infantile in his reaction as admonished by activist Andrew Loh in his commentary “Stop being so childish Prime Minister”? Yes, I think PM is being immature and unpolished as a political leader in how he has responded given that no corruption accusations were made about him although very valid concerns were raised by many citizens over the AIM saga.
Instead of responding like a courageous and dignified leader should, he chose to respond with a cheap low blow – the bad habit of threatening people with legal letters. Such quick-to-sue actions remind me of the foul-tempered childish Red Queen in the story ‘Alice in Wonderland’ who loved to yell “Off with their heads!” at those who offended her!
Perhaps PM & Company believe that by using the bazooka to kill an ant, it will scatter and scare off the rest. I have news for them. Ants that scatter tend to regroup very fast and they become more ferocious when angered.
What PM needs to learn is that as the country’s political leader, we expect the highest level of accountability and honourable behaviour from him. What kind of values is he exhibiting when he does things like this? Shouldn’t he answer pertinent questions such as why PAP awarded the contract to AIM when there was a clear conflict of interest in awarding and selling the rights of the computer system to a PAP-owned company?
As the head of our country, he owes the people an honest explanation and not a lawyer’s letter.