Where is the rule of law to protect the privacy and reputation of private citizens from what may be akin to public chastisement in the media by the Government?
I refer to the article “Li Shengwu, Lee Wei Ling surprised that Facebook post on Singapore court system enough to trigger AGC response” (Straits Times, Jul 17).
It states that “In a Facebook post on Monday afternoon responding to AGC’s statement, Mr Li said he was “somewhat surprised” that his last post – which was shared on “friends only” privacy settings – was enough to trigger a response.
He added: “I’m surprised that the Singapore government is so petty. Would they also like to trawl my private Facebook feed for seditious vacation photos?”
Mr Li’s aunt, Dr Lee Wei Ling, also commented on the matter in a Facebook post on Monday, saying that she was “surprised at the AGC’s negative reaction to a private post”.
“Is there a government servant whose duty is to follow the Facebook activity of all people related to Hsien Yang and I, including our private musings. What Shengwu posted is a common topic amongst Singaporeans who are well informed,” she wrote.
She asked: “Is this not an example of ‘Big Brother’ government,” using the famous phrase from George Orwell’s 1984 novel to refer to an authoritarian government which exercises total control over its citizens.
Senior Minister of State for Health and Communications and Information Chee Hong Tat was quoted by Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao on Monday as saying that he was “disappointed” with Mr Li’s actions.
Mr Chee, who was the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s Principal Private Secretary from 2008 to 2011, added: “Is this respecting Mr Lee Kuan Yew and his values? I don’t understand why he continues to launch online attacks, after his father already said he was going to stop doing so.””
The Government’s reponse to the issue of the conflict of interest of the Attorney–General (A-G) being the PM’s personal lawyer just before his appointment was that “he was not advising the Government on any issue he had been involved with (relating to the Prime Minister) before he took on his post as A-G”.
So, isn’t there arguably, a conflict of interest to now say it “is looking into the matter” of Mr Li Shengwu for his recent facebook remarks given that he is the PM’s nephew?
Is it appropriate for the Government to use the media to say that it is “looking into the matter”?
Is it arguably appropriate or beneath the dignity of the Government – for a Minister to also “add oil to the fire”?
Where is the rule of law to protect the privacy and reputation of private citizens from what may arguably be akin to public chastisement in the media by the Government?
Leong Sze Hian