Shanmugam and Foo Mee Har speak up against online allegations
Sgpolitics.net Breaking News: WP is holding a press conference this afternoon. Stay tuned.
Written by Ng E-Jay
15 February 2012
Lawyers acting for Mr K. Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister for both Foreign Affairs as well as Law, have written to activist blogger Alex Au, asking him to remove comments from his blog that refer to defamatory remarks made against Shanmugam on other internet sites (primarily by a moniker “Scroobal“). Alex Au complied with the request late Tuesday night and has published the lawyer letter in full, also at their request.
While Mr Shanmugam’s lawyers from Allen & Gledhill LLP did not specify the exact nature of those defamatory remarks, it is widely understood that they refer to Mr Shanmugam’s private conduct and not his political duties. Following Alex Au’s posting, other websites like TOC and TRE are also said to be conducting “search and remove” operations to eliminate potentially defamatory comments. Also, to the best of my knowledge, no comments of this nature has ever been allowed on Sgpolitics.net (I have stringent comment moderation in place).
One of Mr Shanmugam’s lawyers, Senior Counsel Ang Cheng Hock, later told the Straits Times: “There are some people who have posted with what appears to be their names. We will be proceeding against them.”
Following the actions taking by Mr Shanmugam’s lawyers, PAP MP Foo Mee Har has also stepped forward to address allegations made online against her. She was responding to media queries on the matter, because the comment on Alex Au’s blog, Yawning Bread, also contained a reference to her. In her FaceBook posting, Ms Foo said:
I have been asked, in relation to the attached ST article, if I would follow suit to also initiate legal proceedings. As Mr Alex Au has already promptly removed his posting which makes reference to me, I don’t think it is necessary to take any further action at this point. However, I do wish to say that the personal attacks and rumours that were made against me are false and baseless. I think it is important for me to put this on record so that people will know they are untrue. We need to inculcate a culture of responsibility of what we say. I would take steps to protect my rights if it becomes necessary to do so. Hopefully it would not come to that.
It is my understanding that allegations made online against Ms Foo also originate from the moniker “Scroobal”, and his postings were made on the online forum Sammyboy Alfresco Coffeeshop Talk.
The authorities in Singapore are understood to have the ability to track down a person online even if he or she uses anonymizing facilities such as Virtual Private Networking, TOR onion routing, or other forms of proxy servers, and even if encryption is involved.
This is because all internet traffic in Singapore is directed through a common proxy choke with date, time and IP stamping operation in place.