Exactly half a year has passed from today (10 Jan) since the 2020 General Election (GE) was held on 10 Jul last year. For the first time, the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) lost 2 GRCs, namely, Aljunied and Sengkang GRCs to the opposition.
During the GE period, Singaporean voters came to know of an Ivan Lim, the controversial candidate introduced by PAP.
His candidacy was announced on 26 Jun 2020 by PAP. He is a General Manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine and was slated to contest in Jurong GRC. Deputy Prime Minister 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, “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.”
But not long thereafter, 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 opined that he was a “shame” to PAP.
PM Lee: PAP will investigate
As online chatter on Lim dramatically rose, PAP suddenly announced on 27 Jun 2020 that Lim has withdrawn from contesting in 2020 GE. Two days later on 29 Jun, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told everyone that PAP will investigate the allegations against Lim after GE.
“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 said.
“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.”
“So, after the elections, the party will investigate the veracity of allegations against Ivan and we will come to a view on the matter,” he added.
Still, PM Lee said he has confidence in the PAP’s recruitment process and his party’s candidates.
At the 2020 GE, PAP’s percentage share of valid votes dropped considerably to 61.2% from the 69.9% secured in 2015 GE.
If Lim had not withdrawn from 2020 GE, he would likely be an MP in Jurong GRC by now, since he was contesting together with the popular PAP minister Tharman at Jurong GRC.
It’s not known if the PAP has investigated the veracity of allegations against Lim internally but so far, nothing has been heard publicly about any of such investigations by the PAP.