June 27 update: People's Action Party candidate Ivan Lim has announced he will not contest the general election. Read full story here
SINGAPORE - The People's Action Party's first assistant secretary-general Heng Swee Keat says the party's new face Ivan Lim should clarify the online criticisms he has received since being introduced on Wednesday.
Mr Heng, who is Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, told reporters on Saturday (June 27): "I have emphasised that integrity and character are very important in our candidates. And if there are any complaints, it should be properly clarified.
"So I would like to see Ivan himself coming out to clarify this comment, so that we can hear both sides of the story."
Mr Heng was on a visit to Teban Gardens Market and Food Centre in West Coast GRC, along with Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran and Ms Foo Mee Har, both incumbent members of the PAP team in the constituency.
Mr Lim, 42, who is a general manager at Keppel Offshore & Marine, has recently been accused of elitist or arrogant behaviour by a number of people who claim to have known him at work or during national service.
However, others who know him have also come out in support of him online, and a video of several of his colleagues speaking up for him has been making the rounds on Saturday.
Mr Heng added that it was important to address the issue clearly, as all party candidates are expected to be able to address any concerns that may be raised about them.
"There are some of those who have put it on the Internet, they have also identified themselves - these are not anonymous points. And I would like to reach out to them to understand better what exactly had happened, so that we have a better understanding of the entire situation."
He added: "The key, as I mentioned, is whether the individual has the heart to serve all Singaporeans. And this is most important for us."
PAP vice-chairman Masagos Zulkifli, who weighed in on the issue on Friday, said that it was important for candidates who face allegations to prove themselves.
But he added that they should not be defined by a single moment in time or in their career, but judged instead by their growth throughout their lives.