The withdrawal of the People’s Action Party (PAP) potential candidate Ivan Lim is a “regrettable” episode, but the Party will now focus on key issues like people’s jobs, lives, and future, said the PAP’s First Assistant Secretary-General Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (28 June).
Mr Lim – who was introduced as a PAP candidate on 24 June – has withdrawn from the General Election (GE) soon after he made clarifications on Saturday (27 June) about the various allegations that have been made against him on social media.
“What is important for us is to focus on the key issues ahead as we set out in the PAP manifesto, which is about our jobs, our lives and our future,” said the former Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr Heng was speaking to members of the media during the Party’s walkabout at a Compassvale food court in the new Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) on Sunday, where he was asked on whether the PAP would investigate the allegations made against Mr Lim.
“As the PM has said, there is no time for that,” he replied. “We will deal with those issues like we always do after the General Election (when we can) do a review.”
Mr Heng also emphasised on bringing everyone together to deal with the country’s “enormous challenges” decisively and effectively.
“Because, as I said, the agenda is not just about the next few months, the agenda is about the years ahead. Which is our future, the future of our children,” he added.
Meanwhile, former National Development Minister Lawrence Wong – during his walkabout in Woodlands Street 31, in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC – noted that Mr Lim has “done the responsible thing” by withdrawing from the election.
“He recognised the controversy around his candidacy was threatening to eclipse and distract us from the serious nature and the serious issues that we have to confront during this election and during this crisis,” he told reporters.
Citing the Secretary-General of PAP Lee Hsien Loong’s letter to Mr Lim, Mr Wong said there is “no time to do a proper and full investigation”, adding that the Party “really do not have any reason to believe that these allegations are true”.
“The public will want to scrutinise all our candidates – that’s fair – and they will scrutinise opposition party candidates as well,” he stated.
Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Lee Hsien Yang also commented on the controversy revolving around Mr Lim on Saturday, noting that people should be worry of the PAP’s candidate screening process.
In response to Mr Lee’s comments, Mr Wong said that the PAP has a “rigorous and robust” selection process but “no process is perfect”.
“No process is perfect, no candidate is perfect, but we stand by our selection process,” he remarked. “It is a selection process that has thrown up many good candidates over many years and in this particular election.”