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PAP candidate Ivan Lim, a general manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine has withdrawn from the candidacy on the night of 27th June 2020.
The withdrawal comes just 3 days after the People’s Action Party announced their first batch of 8 new candidates.
Lim Shaw Chuan Ivan 林绍权
His introduction reads as follows:
“Ivan Lim Shaw Chuan, 42, General Manager for Specialised Vessels at Keppel Offshore & Marine, joined Keppel after his GCE ‘O’ Level Examination. He worked through the ranks to his current position. An active volunteer at Henderson-Dawson constituency, he is concerned about the elderly and disadvantaged children, especially those with special needs.”
Here’s Ivan Lim’s full introduction video:
Immediate Negative Reaction
A few netizens immediately commented on the issue, citing a review of Ivan Lim.
Here’s a slideshow of the responses:
Shortly after, more personal accounts of Ivan Lim were posted and they are not positive. Among these were a highly critical post by Bryant Wong Hai Chew, who served as an Acting RSM to Ivan Lim, who was CO of the Combat Engineer Battalion.
Ivan Lim Shaw Chuan
CO of my ex-NS Combat Engineer Battalion.
Happened during an outfield exercise in Khatib Bongsu in approx 2013/2014 when I was the Acting Battalion RSM.
While both of us were inside the air-conditioned Battalion HQ tentage, the respective platoon and section commanders were led into the tentage by the OC for an exercise briefing. Ivan Lim did not like it and using a condescending voice, he reminded all that they are just platoon and section commanders and they were not supposed to set foot into the Battalion HQ tentage. I was disgusted. His action and speech were simply that of an elitist.
There were other instances during Battalion briefings where he would always peppered the briefings with his personal achievements (How he is a GM at a shipyard, how many people report to him at work etc). He 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.
Bryant Wong Hai Chew
So now he is going into politics to represent ordinary folks in Parliament. With his character and personality – will he?
I wish him well.
Source: Bryant Wong Hai Chew
Soon after, a former subordinate during National Service chimed in to agree with the RSM, Bryant Wong Hai Chew.
I agree with what the Acting RSM said. Ivan Lim was the 2IC, and then the OC of the company during the early stages of my ICT. This guy is a 2-face, who could care less about the soldiers under his charge. In front of us, he was this demanding and uncaring officer, who demands that we respect him. In front of the CO and higher-ranked officers, he was this smiling and always friendly subordinate. Always trying his best to get into the good books of the CO. Aka porlumpar.Kevin Wong
He always gave us the impression that he has this sadistic desire to control the men under him. As we were a stay-out company, there wouldn’t be any dinner indented for us. But he would hold us for hours until around 7+pm, when he’ll show up for a daily “debrief”, which normally was a bullshit session. Around us are anxious fathers and husbands, and hungry men, who were waiting to go home to their families, but he wouldn’t care. Not one bit. And who can forget, he was always threatening to charge us, even for the smallest offence, like not getting a haircut before booking in. (There was a barber in-camp, btw.)
Source: Kevin Wong
A certain Laxton Yeo also commented on CNA’s post about new candidacy, citing that Ivan Lim’s conduct was similar to that reported by Kevin Wong.
He added that, “Another time we were having an outfield exercise and it was threatening to rain very heavily. Other commanders asked him to check the lightning risk and he dismissed it and asked everyone to carry on. Minutes later there was a lightning strike nearby and he was the first to run indoors to take shelter before giving orders for others to stop the exercise. He is not fit to be a leader and definitely not fit to be a MP!
Source: Laxton Yeo
More Negative Stories Surfaced
The velocity of the feedback didn’t stop and more stories were posted by netizens, ranging from Ivan Lim’s polytechnic classmates to Keppel Offshore & Marine co-workers.
The comments are consistently highlighting snobbishness and elitist attitudes which are contrary to the basic qualities expected of a Member of Parliament.
Masagos Zulkifli stands by Ivan Lim
Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, was asked about Ivan Lim’s character during a virtual press conference of the introduction of PAP’s final group of new candidates.
He gave the following reply:
“GE is a time when people who have been introduced will also elicit responses, which are not surprising sometimes. But also I think it is important for the candidates who may have been alleged to be something or other to also prove themselves,”Masagos Zulkifli
“And I think it is not a moment in their career or their time with people that define them, but as a person throughout their life, and also an opportunity for them if they have done something in the past, to redeem themselves. Because we have seen qualities in all our candidates that make them what we think (are) good leaders that will serve our people well.”
Source: Yahoo! News
Shortly after this news article went online, many netizens have commented that public office is not a place for people to “redeem” their past mistakes. A member of parliament is expected to be of good character to serve his/her constituency.
Petition called to remove Ivan Lim from General Elections
An online petition was started to call for signatures to remove Ivan Lim from the GE.
Ground sentiment from Singapore voters whether Ivan Lim should be a MP.Contents of Petition
Sign this if you DO NOT WANT him to be a MP.
Regardless of whether he is in PAP or any Opposition Parties, we do not want him to become a MP.
Ivan Lim Responds to Allegations
Ivan Lim says he is “determined to stay the course and to serve”, if he is elected.
A press statement was issued through the PAP. “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.” said Mr Ivan Lim.
A press release was issued by the PAP on behalf of Mr Ivan Lim:
Netizens have commented that the the reply from Ivan Lim further reinforces the previous allegations. The manner of reply and justifications can come across as elitist, though debatable.
“Ill Treatment of Keppel Shipyard Workers”
An additional post was made by a Kumar Maruthavanan which included a screenshot of a 2013 email filed as a complain to Mr Lim Swee Say, Secretary General of NTUC.
Kumar Maruthavanan claims that Ivan Lim, who was General Manager, did not want workers to have their breakfast and rest in the yard until it’s time to start their work. A restriction was put in place such that workers can only enter the yard after 7.30am. This resulted in workers resting just outside of the yard by the sides of the roads which had a lot of heavy traffic.
It is unknown if this complaint is legitimate.
Subordinate Shares Experience
Nicole Huilin shared her experience of working with Ivan Lim. She claimed to “put on her headset” when Ivan was scolding his workers. Arrogance and abuse were quoted in her post. She has also added that it’s disappointing for PAP to allow such a person in the party.
Ministers Chime In on Ivan Lim
Besides Masagos, Heng Swee Keat and Lawrence Wong has spoken about the issue to the media.
“I have emphasised that character and integrity are important in our candidates, and if there are any complaints, it should be properly verified,”DPM Heng Swee Keat
“I would like to see Ivan himself coming out to clarify these comments so that we can hear both sides of the story.”
Lawrence Wong has also commented that he stands by the PAP selection process.
“No process is perfect, no candidate is perfect, but we stand by our selection process. It’s a selection process that has thrown up many good candidates over many years and in this particular election.”Lawrence Wong
Source: Today Online
Byrant Wong stands by his statement
Bryant Wong has put it across that he stands by his statement about Ivan Lim to Mr Heng Swee Keat.
As for how will this happen, it will probably happen after the elections.
Mr Heng – Feel free to reach out anytime. I am willing to stand by my statement of encounter with Mr Ivan Lim which I’ve put up.Bryant Wong Hai Chew
I would ask for our conversation to be put on record and made available to fellow Singaporeans given we both recognize the importance to verify the character of candidates.
Ivan Lim withdraws as candidate after backlash
Ivan Lim has written a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to withdraw from the candidacy. He has continued to express that the allegations are baseless.
Citing that the controversies over his candidacy has eclipsed the core issues of the election, he has decided to withdraw, with consultation with the Party Leadership.
Lee Hsien Loong accepts withdrawal
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong accepted Ivan Lim’s withdrawal. Citing the nature of the election campaign, that there is no time for thorough investigations, and that allegations spread like wildfire, it was a distraction to the core issues of the elections.
What happens after?
Considering that this event is unheard of in Singapore Politics, it adds on to the excitement of the evolution of Singapore.
DPM Heng Swee Keat has mentioned that the PAP will carry out investigations into the allegations against Ivan Lim.
Several opposition parties have also requested the public to give Ivan Lim a “break”.
When asked for his thoughts on Lim at a virtual press conference today (June 28), Worker’s Party chief Pritam Singh said that the issue was “an internal matter for the PAP”.
In a similar vein, Progress Singapore Party’s assistant secretary-general Leong Mun Wai shared his thoughts on the saga in a Facebook post.
It’s still baffling that Ivan Lim went from “continuing the course” to ” withdrawal”. That doesn’t speak well of a person’s ability to fight for the interests of his constituency. This will go down in the history books of Singapore as one of the most baffling elections, probably after the Reserved Presidency controversy.
In other news, New Nation came back to life after this General Elections was announced. Their last post was in April 2019. The website was updated with a lone, satirical article about Ivan Lim. Belmont Lay is probably quite bored as Nicole Seah goes back to the polls.