One month has past since the 2020 General Election (GE) was held on 10 July last month.
During the GE, one of the most stunning event that happened was the withdrawal of People’s Action Party (PAP)’s candidate Ivan Lim from the election.
It started after PAP announced on 26 June the candidacy of Ivan Lim to contest in 2020 GE. He is the General Manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine and was slated to contest in Jurong GRC. DPM Heng Swee Keat even praised Lim saying that he has had a very unusual journey in his education.
During the introduction, Lim told the media that he is concerned about “elderly residents and children”. “I chose to serve with PAP because the PAP values and attributes are close to my heart. In particular, being compassionate, and also being self-reliant on the ground,” he said.
Not long after his introduction, stories of his past started to surface (‘Online comments emerge that PAP new candidate Ivan Lim allegedly a “How Lian” character‘).
A Facebook user, Bryant Wong, shared that Lim was allegedly the commanding officer of his battalion and would speak “using a condescending voice” to tell others not to step into the air-conditioned tentage that he was using. “His action and speech were simply that of an elitist,” Mr Wong wrote.
“There were other instances during Battalion briefings where he would always [pepper] the briefings with his personal achievement (how he is a GM at shipyard, how many people reporting to him at work, etc).”
“He [Mr Lim] was never well liked by the soldiers and commanders of the Battalion due to his constant ‘humble brag’ and driving around camp in his expensive cars,” Mr Wong further noted. “So now he is going into politics to represent the ordinary folks in Parliament. With his character and personality – will he?”
Other netizens commented that Lim’s alleged “bad character” can be found all over on Facebook with negative remarks supposedly coming from his poly classmates, colleagues at Keppel as well as people serving with him during NS and reservist days. Some said he was a “shame” to PAP.
PM Lee: PAP will investigate
On 27 June, PAP suddenly announced that Lim has withdrawn from contesting in 2020 GE.
Two days later on 29 June, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told everyone that PAP will investigate the allegations against Lim after GE. But he also expressed confidence in his party’s recruitment process and cautioned against a culture of “trial by internet” of candidates.
“I don’t think that should be the end of the matter because we can’t let such serious things be said about somebody and have somebody live with the cloud permanently hanging over him (with) a question mark. I think it would be unfair to Ivan,” he added.
“It sets a very damaging precedent that you can condemn somebody and write him off on the basis of an internet campaign. We don’t have time to settle it now, but we can’t simply write off and destroy people like this,” he asserted.
“So, after the elections, the party will investigate the veracity of allegations against Ivan and we will come to a view on the matter.”
With regard to PAP’s recruitment process, PM Lee said PAP has a good process. “We have good candidates. And we have confidence in how the process has worked this time and in the candidate line-up that we have produced and presented to you this election,” he said.
“We have confidence in our system and our candidates. If problems come up, we will look at them.”
The oppositions were able to make headway in the recent GE by winning 2 GRCs, Aljunied GRC and Sengkang GRC, this time. Overall, PAP’s percentage share of valid votes has dropped considerably from 69.9% in 2015 GE to 61.2% in the recent one.
If Ivan Lim had not withdrawn from 2020 GE, he would likely have been an MP in Jurong GRC by now, since he was riding on the coattail of popular PAP minister Tharman contesting at Jurong.