Singapore GE: Ivan Lim saga raises questions about PAP’s candidate screening process, says Lee Hsien Yang

Progress Singapore Party member Lee Hsien Yang (right) speaking to fellow party member Wendy Low during a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market, June 24, 2020. — TODAY pic
Progress Singapore Party member Lee Hsien Yang (right) speaking to fellow party member Wendy Low during a breakfast meeting at Tiong Bahru Market, June 24, 2020. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, June 28 — The People’s Action Party (PAP) seemed unprepared for the onslaught of criticism against its former candidate Ivan Lim, raising questions about the party’s candidate screening process, Progress Singapore Party (PSP) member Lee Hsien Yang said yesterday.

Lee, who is the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, was speaking to the media just hours before Lim, who had only been introduced by the PAP on Wednesday, announced that he would withdraw from the election, given the fierce controversy that his candidacy had unleashed.

“Well, the ruling party prides itself on the way they select candidates,” Lee said. 

During a walkabout at Holland Village, in Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC), he was asked to comment on the criticisms that had been lobbed against Lim in the past week. Lee was formally inducted into PSP on Wednesday and the party has not said whether he will contest in this General Election.

“I don’t know whether (PAP) knew or didn’t know about some of these issues. If they knew about it, they didn’t seem prepared for it,” he said.

“And if they didn’t know about it, then perhaps one should worry that the screening process is not as thorough as it can be. But you know, one has to hear what the person in concern has to say. I think some of the people who gave feedback have also been prepared to come forward. I am only a bystander in this.”

‘I don’t have star power’

Lee was also asked if he thinks he adds “star power” to PSP.

“I don’t have star power, but I think others maybe do,” he replied.

Earlier yesterday, during a walkabout at West Coast GRC, PSP secretary-general Tan Cheng Bock had noted that the party has experienced a “Lee Hsien Yang effect” in the form of increased donations and support since Lee joined the party and called on Singaporeans to support the party in a video.

Lee added: “It is much easier to support PAP. For the opposition parties, people are worried — ‘Should I do this? Will it affect me?’ And I am trying to encourage people that it is all right to speak up. It is all right to express your views.” 

Asked about the significance of him making a second appearance in Tanjong Pagar GRC, the constituency in which his late father, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, was a Member of Parliament for 60 years, he would only say that he is guided by party members on where they would like him to help them.

“Today, they asked me to come here,” he said. — TODAY

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