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Blogger Roy Ngerng, who is currently being sued by the Prime Minister for defamation, has been fired by his employer for “neglect of duty” and compromised work performance.
Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which has employed Ngerng as as a patient coordinator at the Communicable Disease Centre for the past two years, stated yesterday his termination came as a result of improper public conduct, which has overall affected his ability to do his job.
It also stated its concern with Ngerng’s personal interests, stating staff are free to pursue these outside of work but “must conduct themselves properly, honourably and with integrity. In particular, they cannot defame someone else without basis.”
Last month, Ngerng made headlines after he published a blog post which alleged Prime Minister Lee Hsieng Loong had misappropriated CPF funds.
The Prime Minister responded by launching a defamation suit on May 29, after rejecting an offer from Ngerng of $5,000 for damages. The proceedings are still ongoing.
Here is the full statement from Tan Tock Seng Hospital:
TTSH has terminated its contract with Mr Roy Ngerng with immediate effect because of conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees, and for misusing working time, hospital computers and facilities for personal pursuits.
Mr Ngerng is a patient coordinator at the Communicable Disease Centre who has been employed on a yearly contract with TTSH for the past two years. His supervisors found that he was misusing TTSH time and resources to pursue personal and non-job-related interests. In May this year, 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.
However, Mr Ngerng disregarded the warning and continued to misuse company time and resources to access non-job related social media sites to pursue his personal interests.
In addition, Mr Ngerng’s recent public actions and conduct have caused the Hospital grave concern. On 15 May 2014, he posted a defamatory article on the internet alleging misappropriation of funds in relation to the Central Provident Fund. After receiving a demand letter to remove the posts and apologise, Mr Ngerng publicly admitted to the defamation, and also that it was without basis.
Mr Ngerng’s conduct was incompatible with the values and standards we expect of our employees. 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.
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 of the Hospital’s employees to maintain the trust which is vital between the Hospital and the public. His continued disregard of the Hospital’s warnings and advice has rendered his employment with TTSH untenable. The Hospital has therefore terminated Mr Ngerng’s contract with immediate effect. In accordance with the terms of his contract, he received one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
Yesterday, Ngerng confirmed his termination via his Facebook page, stating he had “been expecting this”.
“The stress of the court case has made it difficult for me to concentrate on my job. And my advocacy on the CPF has also taken a toil on my ability to do my job as well,” he wrote.
He stated that his supervisors had been patient with him but that he knows they have a responsibility to uphold, which he respects.
As at the end of the last week, Ngerng had raised more than $90,000 through crowd-funding to support his legal defence.
Image credit: Roy Ngerng’s Facebook page