Some netizens are wondering why there has been no news on the investigation into former People’s Action Party (PAP) candidate Ivan Lim, especially since it has been more than half a year since the 2020 general election took place.
Ivan Lim made history in Singapore for being the only election candidate the PAP announced and then withdrew due to public backlash.
Mr Lim, the General Manager (Operations) of Keppel Shipyard and President of the Keppel Young Leaders, was handpicked by PAP leaders to contest the 2020 general election and went through a rigorous selection process before being announced as one of the party’s candidates for Jurong GRC – a multi-member ward that is anchored by Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Mr Lim’s candidacy was not a surprise – he had been walking the ground at Jurong GRC and PAP chief, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, even featured the story of how he became a senior manager at Keppel in his personal Facebook page in 2018 – two years before the election.
What was a surprise was the outrage against Mr Lim after stories from his past began to circulate online. Some of his polytechnic classmates, peers from his national service and reservist days as well as colleagues from Keppel alleged that Mr Lim was arrogant and an “elitist”.
A petition to revoke Mr Lim’s candidacy began circulating online after and some members of the public considered him a “shame” to the ruling party as criticism against his character and conduct mounted.
Although Mr Lim initially denied the allegations against him and committed to staying the course, the PAP suddenly announced his withdrawal from the election on 27 June. On 29 June – two days before Nomination Day – Mr Lee promised that the PAP will investigate the allegations against Lim after the election. He said:
“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.
“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.”
Despite what happened with Mr Lim, Mr Lee reasserted his confidence in his party’s recruitment process and candidates.
The 2020 election took place 11 days after Mr Lee commented on the Ivan Lim matter. The PAP suffered its second worst result at the polls since independence. Aside from losing an unprecedented 10 seats to the opposition, the party’s vote share plummeted to 61.2 per cent from the resounding 69.9 per cent it secured in the 2015 polls.
The result was a blow to the PAP, which had called on the people to give it an even stronger mandate than the previous election.
Interestingly, after the election, Mr Lim was spotted taking part in a livestream the Jurong GRC team organised to thank their supporters after the victory.
Mr Tharman, who had also promised that there would be an investigation into the allegations against Mr Lim, told his social media followers that the former prospective candidate was allowed to address residents during the livestream since he worked “very hard” on the ground despite not contesting the election.
Mr Tharman said: “He is naturally not part of the team of MPs. But I wanted to acknowledge the contribution he had made, and have him add his own thanks to residents in addition to those of the five MPs. I felt it was right, and hope you understand my approach on such matters.”
That was the last most Singaporeans saw of Mr Lim. It has been more than 6 months since the polls but there has been no word on whether the investigation is ongoing or what the outcome of any probe into Mr Lim was.