Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2014 12:51 PM
To: PM LEE
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Subject: 20140520 Legal action not necessary to resolve issue, bad PR,
Dear PM Lee
I am shocked to learn that blogger Roy Ngerng has been served with a letter of demand by PM Lee’s lawyer on 18 May.
Since Roy has alleged that CPF funds have been misappropriated, the government could have set the record straight with an INDEPENDENT audit of CPF Board and the GIC. The reason why speculation is rife is due to the opacity in the management of our CPF savings.
What PM Lee should have done was simply inform Roy of the ‘serious mistake’ in his article to have it removed. This would have put PM Lee in a good light should legal action be subsequently required.
Instead, PM Lee immediately resorted to legal action. This is akin to targeting a lone soldier on the battlefield with heavy artillery bombardment.
Times have changed and we are not in the pre-internet era but the government seems to have PR guys from the stone age.
Taking legal action in the past had set a really bad example for fellow MPs and ministers who must have been emboldened to mimic our leaders’ actions.
Take for example PAP MP Zagy. In July last year, he somehow came to the conclusion that The Real Singapore (TRS) was responsible for a defamatory article written by one of his frustrated constituents, Ms Serene Tham. Zagy then made demands which he should have known were unlikely to be met.
Instead of focusing his energy thinking of a win-win solution, Zagy was more interested in ‘maintaining his reputation’? and failed to foresee the repercussions of his poor handling of a simple situation.
Good PR, or maybe just some common sense in this case, could be Zagy publishing the town council’s side of the issue, and if it had erred, own up, invite the constituent for coffee and clear up the issue ASAP. I am sure the resident would be more than happy to publish her appreciation on TRS which would have reflected positively on her MP.
So why is PM Lee not confident that issues could be clarified without resorting to legal threats? Is it good PR to hit a little guy with legal expenses not incurred by him?
PM Lee appears to have underestimated the repercussions from the CPF issue. For a start, it affects hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans. With each passing year and ridiculous increases in the Minimum Sum (MS), more Singaporeans are getting fed up with the CPF policy in which we have no say. The government has no right to lock away $198,500 of our hard-earned savings. Citizens have already expressed their concerns about CPF’s arbitrary action which is detrimental to our well-being.
It also makes no sense to keep increasing the MS because less and less CPF members are able to meet this requirement!
The wealthy do not need their CPF savings but hundreds of thousands of citizens DO. They need it TODAY so please don’t tell them they need to save it for a rainy day with the GIC. Many would have met their maker before turning 65 when they are supposed to begin receiving their CPF savings in miserable installments.
Citizens of grandpa and grandma age who have slogged a lifetime are the rightful owners of their CPF funds and they should not be prevented from spending as they wish. We are not arguing for zero CPF retirement savings but the increasing six-figure amount is insane. Some CPF members whom I have spoken to need the money to fund their children’s tertiary education. Today.
Based on a 4% inflation rate, a 20 year old CPF member today will need to have $434,937 at age 40. At 5% inflation rate, the MS will be $526,679. NO ordinary citizen will be able to meet the MS requirement and we are not even talking about retirement age! The MS policy is plain silly and the funny thing is our civil servants have remained silent. Roy has been very vocal and he seems to be representing our 87 reserved elected MPs.
Roy says that he has written about 400 articles and they contain unflattering facts and figures about the government. (I’ve read some) Why have they not been rebutted? Why are our highest-paid civil servants unable to rebut them? Why is the PM only zeroing in on one article which is alleged to be defamatory instead of rebutting the other 399? Are all the articles written by Roy factual?
Resorting to legal action reveals a fear of not being able to win in an argument/debate.
The government should not continue to turn a deaf ear to the CPF noise generated by retirees/soon to be retirees who have by now been screaming till their throats are hoarse. What sort of policy is this that is hated by the majority of ordinary citizens?
The CPF issue cannot be simply wished away and there should be a referendum.
The above is my frank and honest view as an ordinary citizen. Hope it helps. And please refrain from resorting to unnecessary legal threats to resolve issues.
Thank you and have a nice day.