Not long after Ivan Lim Shaw Chuan was introduced by the People's Action Party's (PAP) as their candidate for the July 10 Singapore General Election, he faced criticism on social media for his past behavior. But Lim, General Manager of the Keppel Offshore & Marine issued a clarification on Saturday, June 27 — coinciding with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's release of PAP election manifesto.
Lim, 42, is one of 27 new faces PAP has presented for the upcoming election. However, soon after his announcement on June 24, his former colleague came out with a post, alleging 'elitist' behavior he faced from Lim when he worked under him. Many followed, labeling him as arrogant and as one who lacked compassion.
A Facebook user said that Lim was his Commanding Officer of the battalion in the National Service. During that time, Lim would use "a condescending voice" and ask subordinates — members of the platoon — to not enter his air-conditioned tent. "His action and speech were simply that of an elitist," he said.
He further questioned if such attitude was fit to represent the ordinary people. He added, "So now he is going into politics to represent the ordinary folks in Parliament. With his character and personality — will he?"
Since the appearance of this post, many users, who claimed to have worked under him in the past, came forward to share their experience, claiming that he wasn't fit to represent the people of Jurong GRC, from where Lim is contesting in the upcoming election.
Lim said that such comments had affected his family and his mother in particular. Thus, he felt the need to issue a clarification. "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," he said in the statement issued by 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," he added.
It was also alleged that Lim was involved in the Keppel Offshore's $50 million bribery scandal. The company paid bribes to Brazilian officials over 13 years for favorable business deals. Keppel was fined $422 million in 2017. However, Lim maintained that it was untrue and baseless, adding that he was not part of any projects in Brazil.
While PAP vice-chairman, Masagos Zulkifli defended Lim saying that it was important for a candidate to prove himself or herself if they face such allegations, Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat believed that he should clarify the issues raised against him.
"It's very important for us to address this clearly because we expect all our candidates to be able to stand up and to be able to address any concerns that may be raised about them," Heng said.
However, such criticism hasn't deterred Lim. While Lim was taken aback, he said he would stay on course. "When I agreed to enter politics, I expected that it would be tough. This test has come sooner than I expected. I wish to say that I am determined to stay the course and to serve if I am elected," Lim said.
Lim started working at the Keppel Shipyard at the age of 16 in 1994 as circumstances were not in his favor and he had "no choice but to start working." Impressed with his hard-working nature, the company awarded him a scholarship for a diploma at the Singapore Polytechnic where Lim studied marine engineering and later graduated with first-class honors from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in the North East of England.
It didn't take him long to climb up the ladder at Keppel. He is now the general manager of the company. He wants to work for seniors and children and provide them with social assistance.