Should the Government be entitled to sue under Poha when it has numerous media resources at its disposal?

Following a landmark 2-1 Court of Appeal hearing ruling that the government was not considered a legal person and is not entitled to use the Protection from Harassment Act (Poha) to sue, several “legal experts” were quoted in a TODAY article as saying that the Poha should be amended to include the Government as a legal person.

SMU Law Don Associate Professor Eugene Tan was quoted as saying that “the ability of an individual to harass an organisation is real and the real threat posed by false information cannot be underestimated”.

As a result, a public body “should not have to spend (an) inordinate (amount of) time and other limited resources to defend itself.”

Following the judgment earlier this month, the Ministry of Law said the Government “should be entitled to point out falsehoods which are published and have the true facts brought to public attention” adding they will look into how to prohibit the deliberate spreading of falsehoods.

By contrast, the opposition Workers’ said that it would “vigorously oppose” any move to amend the act to allow the government to invoke it, asking why the Government needs such “extensive provisions” considering the “vast media resources at its disposal” to disseminate information.

Back in 2013, the Singapore Democratic Party had argued that “Where a defamatory statement regarding a public body is properly understood to refer to a specific individual, that person may have a right to sue for defamation..

However.. the government body he or she represents should not not have the right to sue.. In other words, taxpayers’ money cannot be used in such cases”

Do you think Dr. Ting’s statements would constitute harassment to an organisation such as the Ministry of Defence?


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