Blogger seeks ruling that stat board can't sue for defamation

A BLOGGER has applied to the High Court for a declaration to say that a statutory board does not have the right to sue for defamation because it is a public body.

Ms Han Hui Hui, 21, had received a letter of demand from lawyers representing the Council for Private Education (CPE) - the statutory board in question - concerning alleged defamatory statements she published in e-mail messages sent to various media organisations.

The letter from Allen & Gledhill, dated April 15, wanted Ms Han to, among other things, stop further publication of the e-mail messages, send a "full and unqualified" apology to all parties copied in her original e-mail messages by next Monday, and publish the apology on her blog and Facebook.

The alleged defamatory material was left out from documents sent to the media yesterday by the office of her lawyer, Mr M. Ravi.

Ms Han said in her affidavit that she had enrolled in a private education institute in 2010 which did not provide "competent education".

According to the Private Education Act, the CPE is a "body corporate" capable of suing and being sued.

But Ms Han argues that the statutory board under the Education Ministry is a government body and of "sufficiently public character" to be considered a public body.

When contacted, the CPE said it was inappropriate to comment on the matter at this juncture.