Singapore—In the wake of the Ivan Lim controversy over the weekend, ruling People’s Action Party has replaced its embattled candidate with Xie Yao Quan for its Jurong GRC slate.
Mr Xie, the 35-year-old head of healthcare redesign at Alexandra Hospital, was introduced to members of the media by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (June 29). SM Tharman said that the party is always ready with more candidates than is required for every election.
On Saturday night (June 27), Mr Lim withdrew his candidacy hours after he issued a statement saying that he could “do better” and that he was “willing to learn.” A number of posts alleging that the General Manager at Keppel had displayed elitist and arrogant behavior in his National Service days had emerged online, and a change.org petition to bar him from contesting in the upcoming General Election (GE) has been signed by over 22,000 since it was posted on June 26.
Concerning Mr Xie as Mr Lim’s replacement, SM Tharman said that PAP has made late-stage changes to its line-ups in the past.
He said, “Those who are waiting – part of the first team but on the sidelines and waiting, they’re not in the second team, they’re part of the first team… fully suitable to be fielded.”
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Mr Xie is the vice-chairman of the Jurong Spring Citizens’ Consultative Committee and is a longtime community volunteer. He served in the country’s Armed Forces for six years and then worked for another five years with an investment company before his current work in public healthcare.
According to SM Tharman, Mr Xie is known to both grassroots volunteers and residents, and that the decision for him to contest in Jurong was an easy one.
PAP’s Jurong team will be anchored by SM Tharman and includes Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng, MP Rahayu Mahzam and newcomers Shawn Huang, a director for enterprise development at Temasek International, and Mr Xie.
Interestingly, SM Tharman said that the party will look into the allegations against Mr Lim after the GE. He said, ”We’ll come back to the issues concerning Ivan Lim after the elections because we don’t want to leave them unresolved. But we really have to move on now and focus on the issues.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also weighed in on the matter, saying, “I think Ivan did the right thing to decide to withdraw, and not to have this election distracted by his case. But I don’t think that should be the end of the matter, because we can’t let such serious things we said about somebody, and have somebody leave with a cloud permanently hanging over him and a question mark.
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 the allegations against Ivan and we will come to a view on the matter.”