Singapore GE2020: PAP new face Ng Ling Ling responds to claim of falsely taking credit for setting up institute

Ms Ng Ling Ling made the claim during candidate introductions at the People's Action Party headquarters on June 25, 2020. PHOTO: PEOPLE'S ACTION PARTY

SINGAPORE - New PAP candidate Ng Ling Ling has addressed online criticism that she tried to take credit for setting up a training institute.

Ms Ng, 48, the former managing director of Community Chest, made the claim during candidate introductions at the People's Action Party headquarters last Thursday (June 25).

"I set up the Social Service Training Institute (SSTI) and allocated funds to ensure that social service agencies can run critical programmes," she said at the time.

Mr Richard Giam, in a Facebook post on Monday (June 29), said this was a "false claim", as the institute was set up by its founding director Tan Bee Heong and Ms Ng joined afterwards.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Ms Ng confirmed that Ms Tan had been the director.

Ms Ng said: "I was a member of her pioneer team. My role was to help operationalise the institute and ensure (its financial sustainability)."

The candidate, who is expected to be fielded in Ang Mo Kio GRC, added: "Work in the social services sector is a team effort. I had passionate colleagues who inspired me, and I am thankful for the mentorship of many during my journey in NCSS, SSTI and the Community Chest."

SSTI was the training arm of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). It is now known as the Social Service Institute.

Mr Giam, in his post, said: "I cannot publicly claim that I set up a team when I was only one of the contributing members. It would be very misleading and deceptive."

He added that he reported to Ms Ng when she was at SSTI.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Ms Tan, who is now general manager of The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, said Ms Ng joined SSTI a few months after it was set up as one of the heads of department. She added: "She helped to build it up. It was a team effort."

Commenting on Mr Giam's Facebook post, Mr Gerard Ee, the NCSS president at the time, called the remark a "mere Freudian slip" on Ms Ng's part.

Mr Ee, a former Nominated MP, said: "Ling Ling as assistant director, together with her team, contributed much to build up SSTI. It was a start-up and with the efforts of Ling Ling and her team who supported Bee Heong, it grew rapidly."

He added: "I know Ling Ling personally and have watched her contributions in the social service sector over the last few decades. She has a heart for the community and always had a listening ear for the underprivileged.

"We in the social service sector get very attached to what we do and often we see the projects we get involved with as our baby. It happens to me too."

In comments to The Straits Times, Mr Giam, who is founding chief executive of fund-raising firm Rainmakerz, said he just wanted to rectify public perceptions and was glad Ms Ng had responded.

He said: "As she has clarified things, I think we should move on."

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