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Andrea Ong
Friday, Jun 13, 2014

Singapore

Tan Tock Seng Hospital dismisses blogger Ngerng

The Straits Times | Andrea Ong | Friday, Jun 13, 2014

Blogger Roy Ngerng was accused of libel for a blog post that alleges Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has misappropriated Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.

SINGAPORE - Blogger Roy Ngerng, who is being sued by the Prime Minister for defamation, was yesterday fired with immediate effect by his employer, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).

The hospital said it was terminating his contract because of "conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees, and for misusing working time, hospital computers and facilities for personal pursuits".

In statements he put out online, Mr Ngerng first said he respected the hospital's decision, but later said he felt his sacking was politically motivated.

The 33-year-old, who runs the Heart Truths site, is being sued for defamation by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for alleging that the PM had criminally misappropriated Central Provident Fund (CPF) monies.

TTSH said Mr Ngerng had been employed on a yearly contract for the last two years as a patient coordinator at its Communicable Disease Centre.

Explaining what led to his dismissal, it said his supervisors had found him "misusing TTSH time and resources to pursue personal and non-job-related interests".

"In May this year, TTSH issued him a formal letter warning him of his misconduct when his contract was up for renewal, but decided to give him a chance and renewed his contract," it said.

"However, Mr Ngerng disregarded the warning and continued to misuse company time and resources to access non-job-related social media sites to pursue his personal interests."

His recent public actions and conduct also caused the hospital "grave concern", it said, citing the defamation suit.

The suit arises from a May 15 blog post. He was asked to remove it immediately, apologise, and give a written offer of damages and costs. Mr Ngerng took down the post and apologised.

Subsequently, Mr Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, accused Mr Ngerng of repeating the libel via a video, other blog posts and e-mail. Mr Lee rejected Mr Ngerng's offer of $5,000 as damages and began legal proceedings against him on May 29.

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