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GE2020: Heng Swee Keat calls for PAP new candidate Ivan Lim to address criticism

SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party (PAP) first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (June 27) called for party new face Ivan Lim to step forward and address online criticisms of him.

Mr Heng Swee Keat speaking to the media during a walkabout at Teban Market and Food Centre on June 27, 2020.

Mr Heng Swee Keat speaking to the media during a walkabout at Teban Market and Food Centre on June 27, 2020.

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SINGAPORE — The People's Action Party (PAP) first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (June 27) called for party new face Ivan Lim to step forward and address online criticisms of him.

“I have emphasised that integrity and character are very important in our candidates. If there're any complaints, it should be properly clarified,” Mr Heng said in response to a question from the media during a walkabout at Teban Market and Food Centre, which is in the West Coast Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

“So I would like to see Ivan himself coming out to clarify these comments so that we can hear both sides of the story. It is important that we take this seriously.” 

A number of negative posts and comments have surfaced on social media since Mr Lim, 42, a general manager at Keppel Offshore and Marine, was introduced as a PAP candidate on Wednesday. 

Accusations include criticism of his conduct as an officer during in-camp training, with subsequent claims that he lacks compassion and is arrogant and elitist.

Mr Heng noted that the posts criticising Mr Lim were made by persons who have identified themselves, adding that he “would like to reach out to them to understand better what exactly happened” and the entire situation. 

“So it's very important for us to address this,” Mr Heng said. 

“We expect our candidates to be able to stand up and address any concerns that were raised about them. The key, as I mentioned, is whether that individual has the heart to serve all Singaporeans. And this is most important for us — you must have the heart to serve all citizens.”  

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On Friday, during a session to introduce the party’s final group of eight candidates, PAP’s vice-chairman Masagos Zulkifli had addressed the online criticism surrounding Mr Lim, saying it is important for candidates to prove themselves against any allegations.

He said that the General Election is the time when people who have been introduced will “elicit responses” such as these complaints about Mr Lim. 

“(It is) 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, good leaders that will serve our people well,” he said.

When contacted, Mr Lim asked TODAY to direct queries to PAP's headquarters.

PAP VERSUS PSP IN WEST COAST GRC

On Saturday, Mr Heng was accompanied by Mr S Iswaran and Ms Foo Mee Har, the incumbent Members of Parliament for West Coast GRC, during his walkabout.

Mr Heng said that his aim for the visit was to speak to Ayer Rajah residents to see if the Budget measures have been supporting them as intended and if they have any concerns. He also wanted to observe how residents are adjusting to Covid-19 safety measures during the present second phase of the opening up of the economy, after strict containment rules were lifted in early June.

“I'm glad to say that our people are adjusting very well to this new situation, and many of them have told me how they are supporting one another,” Mr Heng said. 

He noted that Mr Iswaran and Ms Foo have been working the ground in the constituency for many years.  

“So I'm glad to see that many of the residents know them very well, they have spoken of the work they have done and, in particular, how they have been supporting the more vulnerable groups.”

Mr Iswaran is likely to lead the PAP team in the upcoming GE, with former trade and industry minister Lim Hng Kiang widely expected to retire from politics.

PAP won 78.57 per cent of the votes in the last GE in 2015 against the Reform Party, but will likely face a tougher fight this time against the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) led by Dr Tan Cheng Bock.

Dr Tan, who was PAP MP for Ayer Rajah for 26 years before setting up PSP, has indicated that he would contest in the five-member GRC.   

Asked if his walkabout on Saturday can be seen as a bid to bolster support for the PAP team against PSP, Mr Heng said that ministerial community visits have been going on for some time. 

Mr Iswaran said that this is not the first time PAP will be facing a contest in West Coast GRC.

“Our message and our stance have been consistent. We’re focused on improving the lives and the livelihoods of our residents. In other words, we want to take care of their needs, we want to enhance their well being,” he said, adding that these efforts “complement the national level”, such as the Budget support measures.

“That is our message to our residents. And that's the basis on which we will campaign, and we will stand on our track record.”

Related topics

PAP Ivan Lim SGVotes2020 Singapore General Election Heng Swee Keat

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