Sacked by TTSH, blogger agonises
BLOGGER Roy Ngerng, who has been sued for defamation by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was yesterday shown the door by his employer, Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
On his part, Mr Ngerng could not seem to decide whether his work had suffered or not over the past few weeks.
Initially, he admitted on his Facebook page: "The stress of the court case has made it difficult for me to concentrate on my job."
All packed up and on his way home after he was told to leave, Mr Ngerng also told My Paper: "Trying to ramp up advocacy (on the CPF issue) also affected my ability to do my work."
Some minutes later, he sent a text to say that he had "contributed immensely" at work and that his sacking was politically motivated.
He also updated his Facebook page to reflect that stand.
Meanwhile, his initial post was still doing the rounds on The Real Singapore, a socio-political website.
Later in the evening, Mr Ngerng called to say that his initial statement could still be attributed to him.
TTSH said that Mr Ngerng had neglected his duty, misused his time at work, and did not keep in line with the company's values and standards.
"Mr Ngerng's neglect of duty and his improper public conduct have compromised his work performance, and are contrary to the high standard of integrity required," a TTSH spokesman said.
Mr Ngerng worked as a patient coordinator at the Communicable Disease Centre for two years. He was on a yearly contract.
Last month, 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, the spokesman said.
She added that Mr Ngerng continued to misuse company time and resources to access non-job related social media sites to pursue his personal interests.
On his blog, The Heart Truths, on May 15, Mr Ngerng had alleged that PM Lee had misappropriated Central Provident Fund savings.
After receiving a letter of demand from PM Lee's lawyer, Senior Counsel Davinder Singh, Mr Ngerng publicly admitted to defamation, and also that it was without basis.
Mr Lee is claiming damages and costs.
Mr Ngerng, who is being represented by lawyer M. Ravi, set up a "legal defence fund", and raised almost $100,000 in nine days. He had published an appeal on his blog on May 29.
The TTSH spokesman said: "While our staff are free to pursue their personal interests outside work, they must conduct themselves properly, honourably and with integrity. In particular, they cannot defame someone else without basis, which essentially means knowingly stating a falsehood to the public."
She said that Mr Ngerng got a month's salary in lieu of notice, as per his contract terms.
Mr Ngerng also told My Paper: "My supervisors have been patient, but they also have a responsibility to uphold, and I respect that."