AGC looking into Li Shengwu’s comments on court system
Li Shengwu questioned independence of Singapore courts in 'private' Facebook post
The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) is looking into a Facebook post by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's nephew that seems to question the independence of Singapore's courts.
Mr Li Shengwu, 32, had posted a Wall Street Journal article last Saturday titled "Singapore, a model of orderly rule, is jolted by a bitter family feud".
His father, Mr Lee Hsien Yang, and aunt, Dr Lee Wei Ling, are embroiled in a dispute with their elder brother, PM Lee, over the fate of the Oxley Road house of their late father, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
In the post, Mr Li included a link to a 2010 New York Times commentary that suggested media censorship in Singapore.
He also said in the post: "Keep in mind, of course, that the Singapore Government is very litigious and has a pliant court system. This constrains what the international media can usually report."
The post was put up using the privacy setting of "friends only", meaning that only his Facebook friends can view it.
However, it was published by at least two websites - Thoughts of Real Singaporeans and The Independent - and circulated on social media.
Replying to media queries, an AGC spokesman said in a statement yesterday: "AGC is aware of the post and is looking into the matter."
Mr Li, who is working in the US, said in a public post on Facebook yesterday afternoon that he was "somewhat surprised" that his "private" post had triggered a response by the AGC.
It (AGC) can assess the situation based on the post, it’s completely understandable and nothing out of the ordinaryCriminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam
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?"
Dr Lee also expressed surprise on Facebook at the AGC's "negative reaction to a private post".
She added: "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.
"Also, what Shengwu posted is a common topic amongst Singaporeans who are well informed. Is this not an example of 'Big Brother government'."
Singapore Management University (SMU) law don Eugene Tan said the post's privacy settings could be an important consideration if the AGC were to further its investigations.
He said: "This post was to all intents and purposes a private communication. It was not meant for public consumption. But it was made public by another person.
"The question is, did a person in Mr Li's position commit contempt of court in such circumstances? The AGC will have to look closely into the facts, including who was the real publisher - the person who made the private post public."
Lawyers told TNP the AGC was operating within its powers in looking into Mr Li's post.
Criminal lawyer Rajan Supramaniam said: "It can assess the situation based on the post, it's completely understandable and nothing out of the ordinary."
Mr Boaz Nazar, director at Kalco Law, agreed and added: "The AGC needs to satisfy itself and see to what extent do the remarks undermine the perception of the courts."
On July 3, PM Lee delivered a ministerial statement in Parliament addressing his siblings' allegations that he had abused his power.
The feud took a conciliatory turn on July 6 after the siblings said they accepted his desire to settle their dispute in private and would stop posting further allegations on social media.