Singapore blogger agrees to remove posts on PM's demand
SINGAPORE, Jan 04, 2013 (Xinhua via COMTEX) --
A Singapore blogger said on
Friday that he would remove four online posts which the lawyers of
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said had defamatory comments, local
Alex Au, the blogger, said he will also put up a letter of
apology, as requested by the lawyers of the prime minister.
Au published the article, "PAP mis-AIMed, faces blowback," in
four parts on his page on blogging site wordpress.com since Dec.
He made comments on the recent exchange of words between Teo Ho
Pin, a lawmaker of the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) and
coordinating chairman of the PAP town councils, and Sylvia Lim, an
opposition lawmaker who chairs the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
The letter of demand sent by Lee through his lawyers said that
the article are immediately followed by some 21 comments posted on
Au's website, creating "false and baseless allegations."
"The posts, when read with the article and/or by themselves,
mean and are understood to mean that Prime Minister Lee Hsien
Loong is guilty of corruption in relation to the AIM transaction
and will abuse his powers to cover up the matter and/or prevent
any investigation into his corruption," it said.
It demanded that Au immediately remove the posts and publish an
apology on his blog site within three days.
Singapore is known for its rule of law and clean government. It
ranks the fifth out of 176 countries and regions in 2011 on the
corruption perception index of Transparency International. The
authorities encourage free but responsible use of the Internet.
Au was quoted as saying on Friday that he would remove the
posts and put up a letter of apology.
However, the episode should "not distract from the issue of the
sale of town council software to Action Information Management (
AIM)," he said.
The recent exchange of words between Teo and Lim arose after
the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council received a pending rating for
corporate governance for a town council management report.
The lawmakers of PAP, which has been the ruling party in the
country over the past decades with an absolute majority in the
parliament, chair the all but the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council,
the only town councils chaired by an opposition lawmaker.
Lim attributed the rating to the computer systems being changed
at the time, after AIM, which owns the software, terminated its
contract with the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council.
The matter then morphed into issues of transparency and public
interest, and questions were raised about why the software was
sold to AIM, a company fully owned by the PAP.
Teo has since defended the allegations, saying that the 14 PAP
town councils work closely with one another to derive economies of
scale and to share best practices.
When the tender was advertised in June 2010, five companies
collected the tender documents, but only AIM submitted a bid.
The town councils evaluated the bid submitted by AIM, and its
proposal to buy over the software was consistent with the model
suggested by Deloitte and Touche of centralizing the ownership of
the software, he said.
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