With controversial Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) candidate Ivan Lim withdrawing from the upcoming general election, the PAP’s public relations machine seems to have gone into overdrive. Heng Swee Keat has sought to downplay this serious error of judgement on the part of the PAP by calling it a “regrettable” episode.
As much as Heng would like us to think otherwise, this does not seem like just an “episode”. This goes to the heart of the PAP’s values and competencies. If the PAP knew of Lim’s past but yet chose to field him, what does this say of their values?
If the PAP did not know of his past, then they clearly did not do their research. Information like this is not hard to unearth. If they are putting up a controversial candidate for public office alongside stalwarts like Tharman Shanmugaratnam, what does this say about the PAP’s competence? What does Shanmugaratnam think of his ex running mate? What are his views on this whole saga?
It is bad enough that the PAP have fielded such a candidate in the form of Lim. It adds insult to injury that Heng is trying to downplay the incident instead of apologising for the PAP’s poor choice and mistake! Imagine if social media and independent media had not outted Lim?
Lim might well have gotten into Parliament and the people in Jurong Group Representative Constituency (GRC) would be stuck with a member of parliament that is wholly unsuitable!
The PAP, through its poor choice and/or lack of judgement had in effect put the people of Jurong GRC at risk. However, instead of fully apologising, Heng is trying to brush the seriousness of the issue aside.
Worst still, there appears to be attempts to try and turn Lim into some sort of self-sacrificial martyr.
Lawrence Wong said that Lim “recognised the controversy around his candidacy was threatening to eclipse and distract us (the PAP) from the serious nature and the serious issues that we (the PAP) have to confront during this election and during this crisis……It is a very difficult and painful decision for him (Lim) , but it is a responsible thing that he (Lim) did.”
This completely detracts from the point! The PAP made a mistake in selecting Lim, and Lim made the mistake of thinking that he was good enough to contest in the first place!
Lim is not a martyr doing the right thing in withdrawing. He withdrew because he was outted! The PAP also needs to publicly own up for its serious error in judgement.