Two months ago before the current controversy surrounding Liew Mun Leong saga, another controversy was also raging online, just before the 2020 General Election (GE) which was held on 10 July.
During the GE period, the Ivan Lim saga was the talk of the town. It started after People’s Action Party (PAP) announced on 26 June the candidacy of Ivan Lim to contest in the 2020 GE. 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 of his candidacy, 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 after his introduction, 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 said he was a “shame” to PAP.
PM Lee: PAP will investigate
On 27 June, PAP suddenly announced that Lim has withdrawn from contesting in 2020 GE.
Two days later on 29 June, 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.
In the recent GE, the oppositions were able to make headway by winning 2 GRCs, Aljunied GRC and Sengkang GRC. Overall, PAP’s percentage share of valid votes dropped considerably from 69.9% in 2015 GE to 61.2% in the recent one.
If Ivan Lim had not withdrawn from 2020 GE, he would likely be an MP in Jurong GRC by now, since he was riding on the coattail of popular PAP minister Tharman contesting at Jurong GRC.
In any case, nothing has been heard about any investigations by the PAP into those allegations against Ivan Lim.