On 24 June, almost immediately after the People’s Action Party (PAP) announced one of its new candidates, Ivan Lim, who might be contesting in Jurong group representation constituency, social media was rife with criticisms of his character and moral ethics.
These past experiences were mostly shared by his colleagues at Keppel Offshore and Marine (KOM), fellow army comrades, but included various allegations and criticisms from polytechnic school mates and neighbours.
It centred on his “arrogant, selfish and elitist” attitude as a commanding officer (CO) in military service, and uncompassionate ill-treatment of colleagues and subordinates as assistant general manager (AGM) and general manager (GM) at the shipyard organisation.
But one of allegations was him being involved with the KOM’s corruption controversy of bribing Brazilians officials to secure business contracts.
After backlash erupted, a petition on Change.org calling for the removal of Ivan Lim from GE was created on Friday (26 June). It asked the public to sign if “they do not want him to be a member of parliament, regardless of whether he is in PAP or an (alternative) party.” So far, it has garnered over 15,000 signatures at the time of writing.
First assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat has urged Lim on Saturday (27 June) at a walkabout at Teban Market and Food Centre to “clarify these complaints and comments.”
“I have emphasised that integrity and character are very important in our candidates, and whether that individual has the heart to serve all Singaporeans. We expect our candidates to be able to stand up and address any concerns that were raised about them,” added Mr Heng.
PAP’s office has issued a press statement on behalf of Lim on Saturday where he addressed the criticisms.
He began by saying he was doing this because “his family is affected, especially his mother.” He then dived straight into the allegations of the Brazilian bribery incident insisting it was “completely baseless and untrue” and that he “was not involved in any of the Brazilian projects.”
As to his actions in the military as CO, Lim said that “people can have different perspectives of the same incident,” and that it was due to “high standards he set for his unit as CO” and things “that he was prepared to do himself.”
In response to incidents at KOM, he again stated that “high standards were required in the shipyard industry” and that “many colleagues have been promoted and done well during (his) tenure as AGM and GM.”
Lim ended by saying “the test (of) politics has come sooner than (he) has expected” but wishes to convey that he is “determined to stay the course.”
An apology acknowledges one’s actions were wrong; a press statement justifies one’s actions were reasonable.
Read the full statement below.