By Gerry de Silva
The Workers’ Party still owes a Member of Parliament $16,500 in costs arising from its unsuccessful defamation suit brought against him two years ago.
The party brought a slander charge against Mr. Tay Boon Too, MP for Paya Lebar in October 1974. Mr. Tay was accused of telling an election rally in Lorong Tai Seng in August 1972 that the Workers’ Party had received $600,000 from a foreign source for its election purpose.
The Workers’ Party denied this. The party’s court action was dismissed with costs.
It is understood that a total of $21,000 in costs were awarded to Mr. Tay. The party had deposited $4500 as security prior to its appeal against an earlier judgment dismissing its suit.
Contacted yesterday, Mr. J. B. Jeyaratnam, the Workers’ Party secretary-general said: “I will not comment on this case.”
Also involved in court action was the Broadcasting Department, which was sued for libel. Radio Singapore had broadcast extracts of Mr. Tay’s speech over its 11 p.m. news bulletin and in two other bulletins.
The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s findings that the Workers’ Party failed to prove actual “publication” of the alleged defamatory words spoken by Mr. Tay.
The Broadcasting Department had raised the defence of qualified privilege. All it needed to do said its counsel, was to prove that the broadcasts were fair and accurate reports of the proceedings as reported by the reporter.
Mr. Tay, contacted at his Paya Lebar home yesterday said: “My lawyers and the PAP are in charge of this matter. You can refer to the PAP headquarters or my lawyers for information.”
The PAP headquarters declined comment.
Mr. Tay’s lawyers this morning confirmed that the costs awarded had not been paid in full. “We are looking into the matter,” he said.