Singapore — A new People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate at the centre of controversy online over his past behavior withdrew from the General Election on Saturday night (June 27), hours after he issued a statement saying that he could “do better” and that he was “willing to learn”.
In an announcement, the PAP said that Mr Ivan Lim had written to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the party’s Secretary-General, about his withdrawal from the polls and that Mr Lee had accepted his decision.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Lim wrote:
“Following my clarification this morning, further allegations have emerged against me. These new allegations are baseless.
“I recognise that the controversy over my candidacy has eclipsed the core issues of what this election should be about — Singapore’s future and the difficult steps we have to take to recover from Covid-19.
“The controversy has also caused intense pain and stress for my family. I cannot put my family through this. I thank the party for giving me this opportunity to serve.”
Earlier that day, Mr Lim wrote in a statement that it was important for him to “state his position” since his family, especially his mother, was getting affected by the controversy.
First, Mr Lim, a General Manager for Specialised Vessels of Keppel Offshore & Marine, denied allegations of any involvement in the company’s bribery case in Brazil. He wrote: “I was not involved in any of the Brazilian projects.”
Secondly, he addressed the stories circulating around social media regarding his allegedly condescending and elitist behaviour during National Service that had reportedly come from people who were under his command at that time.
According to Mr Lim: “People can have different perspectives of the same incident.”
The statement added: “For example, it has been suggested in one of the posts that I was harsh for recording the man to book-in at 2200 hours when the norm was 2359 hours. I should explain that on that occasion the men had a move-out time early the next morning at 5 am. It was important to ensure, and the rules required, that the men get enough rest. As such I asked them to come back at 2200H and not 2359H. As the story notes, I came back earlier myself as well. I set high standards for the unit as a CO. I believe in working together and I did not ask the men to do something I was not prepared to do myself.”
Mr Lim addressed two other items in his statement, one concerning Keppel and the other regarding a post wherein he was described as not smiling at a neighbour.
He ended his statement by saying he knew politics would be “tough” but that the test that he was facing had “come sooner than” he expected, but that he could “always do better”.
Mr Lim added: “I wish to say that I am determined to stay the course and to serve if I am elected. I accept that I can always do better and I am willing to learn. I will take this experience to heart and do my best to prove myself to voters and all Singaporeans.”
However, there was a groundswell of opinion against Mr Lim, as indicated in a petition started on change.org to remove him from the General Election.
Mr Lim, 42, was introduced on Wednesday (June 24) by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is the PAP’s First Assistant Secretary-General. However, after his introduction, posts emerged on social media questioning whether Mr Lim was fit to be one of PAP’s candidates due to previous negative attitudes and behaviuor. The PAP was urged to look into his background.
About 22,000 people had signed the petition by Sunday afternoon, with more signing by the minute. The petition was put up around noon on Friday (June 26).
Some of those who signed the petition have given their reasons for doing so.