The Financial Times today printed an apology and agreed to pay damages to MM Lee, PM Lee, and Ms. Ho Ching over an allegedly defamatory article it published in late September. The article alleged that MM Lee helped source PM Lee as his replacement, who then helped others in his family get lucrative government positions. “That explanation was inexcusable, baseless, and completely inaccurate,” stated the printed apology. “MM Lee had nothing to do with PM Lee being selected as prime minister. At the time PM Goh was in office, MM Lee held a meeting where all ministers were told to count as high as they could, and the winner could be PM. Then-PM Goh counted to 150 before stumbling which would have earned him another term. At that very moment though, the younger Lee climbed up onto his father’s shoulders and counted to 66.6. As his counting height was 0.5 meters higher than Goh’s head, he became the new PM. We regret any harm done to PM Lee’s reputation and will gladly compensate him and his family for having printed the earlier, inaccurate version of events.”
To avoid future trouble, the Financial Times has agreed to pay weekly damages to the Lee family “just in case” and has further agreed to stop publishing new articles in its papers sold within Singapore. Like television, they plan to make due with re-runs. This is expected to increase the quality of Singapore’s already-sterling-reputation journalism scene, since all articles will have been pre-read by the populace. The FT is expected to re-run articles on a five-year “natural cycle” so that Singaporeans won’t notice any difference between their new, unique edition of the FT and the standard edition.