Tharman Says He Wanted To Acknowledge Ivan Lim’s Contribution, Netizens Divided Over His Presence

When the People’s Action Party (PAP) won Jurong Group Representation Constituency (GRC) with a resounding mandate of 74.62% of the vote, many were happy to know that Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam would once again be back in Parliament.

Mr Tharman’s stronghold was the PAP’s best-performing GRC in the 2020 General Election (GE), having also been the best-performing in GE2015, showing the depth of his popularity.

However, something curious caught the eye of netizens when the Jurong GRC team made a thank you video on the night of Polling Day. The 5-person GRC now had an “additional member” – withdrawn candidate Ivan Lim.

Ivan Lim is on the far right.

Ivan Lim stepped down after accusations over his manner of conduct

For those who have been hiding under a rock, Mr Lim was revealed as a PAP candidate for GE2020 on 24 Jun and was almost immediately subject to accusations of not-so-nice behaviour from people from his past, including former army mates, colleagues and neighbours.

Despite issuing a statement to refute the accusations, they got so numerous that the 42-year-old general manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine eventually decided to step down as a GE2020 candidate as he didn’t want to put his family through further pain and stress.


He was quickly replaced by another newcomer Xie Yao Quan, who was fielded in the Jurong GRC team.

Netizens startled to see Ivan Lim again

That’s why netizens were startled to see Mr Lim again after the PAP successfully retained Jurong GRC.

Not only was he standing alongside the other Jurong GRC MP-elects, including his replacement Mr Xie, he even more surprisingly gave a short speech too.


In his remarks, he thanked Jurong GRC residents, and said “the team has come a long way” and “we would not have come this far without your support”.

He also said “we we will continue… to learn and be humble to serve”, and “we are going to listen to you and continue to build a strong community”.

We wouldn’t blame Jurong GRC residents for wondering: Did we accidentally elect Ivan Lim?


Ivan Lim isn’t going to be an MP

Jurong GRC residents, don’t panic. Mr Lim isn’t going to be your MP.

That’s what Mr Tharman said as he explained why Mr Lim was in that video in the first place.

In a comment posted on Sunday (12 Jul) below an older post on his Facebook page, Mr Tharman said Mr Lim is “naturally not part of the team of MPs”.


Ivan Lim worked very hard on the ground

Mr Lim was already flagged as a prospective candidate for Jurong GRC before GE2020, and thus had been working “very hard on the ground”, said Mr Tharman.

He previously also mentioned him in his opening speech in the same video.

Thus, since Mr Lim made a contribution to the team’s win in the GRC despite stepping down before the actual contest, Mr Tharman wanted to “acknowledge the contribution he had made”.

In the process, Mr Tharman also had him thank residents as well, on top of the thanks from the MP-elects.

Concluded Mr Tharman,

I felt it was right, and hope you understand my approach on such matters.


Netizens divided over Ivan Lim’s presence

In response to Mr Tharman’s clarification, some netizens were glad he explained the decision, so people feel like their queries are being listened to.


Others also said that it was very thoughtful for Mr Tharman to include Mr Lim, and we should move on from this.


However, a Jurong GRC voter thought the Mr Lim’s appearance in the video was misleading, as he had already withdrawn from the contest.


Another Jurong GRC resident even called Mr Lim’s presence in the video “like a slap in my face”, and pointed out that it feels like the other MP-elects were being undermined.


Tharman’s just being a good boss

While many Singaporeans would say Jurong GRC’s good GE results is solely down to Mr Tharman himself, it’s remarkable that he’s humble enough to acknowledge that Mr Ivan Lim also contributed to it in some way.

It seems that Mr Tharman, being the considerate boss he is, recognised Mr Lim’s hard work and just wanted to show his appreciation to him.

We should all love to have a good boss like Mr Tharman, who sees the good side in us and is forgiving of any transgressions.

And if you think we’ve seen the last of Mr Ivan Lim, he might pop up in our news feeds again, sooner than you may think.

Featured image adapted from Facebook.