That is why Lee Kwan Yew put those draconian defamation laws on Singapore's statutes - to crush dissent by sending potential opponents bankrupt with damages. To date it has worked a trick.https://asiatimes.com/2021/04/singapore ... l-lawfare/
PM Lee's use of punitive defamation suits to stifle dissent comes back to bite as Singaporeans galvanize to pay convicted blogger's bills
Singapore’s PAP leaders are no strangers to using defamation suits to clear their names. Foreign media have often been sued for alleged libel and settled out of court, while opposition politicians and online commentators have been bankrupted by the steep damages and associated legal fees in lost lawsuits.
It permitted Lee and still permits Lees successors to claim that in their island republic government upholds rule of law. It is good PR ("good" in the sense of convincing, not in the sense of being truthful) to project the iimage of Singapore as a democracy. The only trouble is that as the country's monopoly lawmaker the ruling party makes sure that they have opaque laws in place like that one to stifle all dissent: to nip emerging political opposition in the bud.
Perhaps the younger generation has had enough of the official fraud and their collective anger might yet bring about change.