FAS saga: Buoyant Bill Ng back to win affiliates' support

FAS presidential hopeful Bill Ng enters the passenger seat of a waiting Volkswagen SUV after a meeting with affiliates at Padi@Bussorah. He left by the restaurant's back door.
FAS presidential hopeful Bill Ng enters the passenger seat of a waiting Volkswagen SUV after a meeting with affiliates at Padi@Bussorah. He left by the restaurant's back door.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

FAS presidential hopeful reiterates themes in manifesto in 3-hour meeting

Even with the cloud of a Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) investigation hanging over his head, Bill Ng, who is making a run for the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) presidency, looked unruffled last night.

The leader of the Game Changers, one of two teams contesting tomorrow's FAS election, met his team-mates and affiliates at Padi@Bussorah last night as he returned to the campaign trail. He had been out of the media spotlight since the police raids on April 20.

Showing up at 7.30pm, smartly attired in a neatly-pressed white shirt, he wore a wide smile as he shook hands with the Game Changers and affiliates.

Ng did not take any questions from the media after the meeting. He left by the restaurant's back door and when approached by The Straits Times (ST) for comment, he briefly said: "Thanks, thank you very much. Thanks for your support."

He was then whisked away in a waiting Volkswagen SUV.

POINT OF VIEW

He also said that he is under investigation and at times like this, there will be rumours.

ARRIOLA BUENAVENTURA ALPHONSUS , Starlight Soccerites president,revealing some of the things FAS presidential hopeful Bill Ng said to affiliates during a meeting yesterday .

The meeting lasted three hours and saw Ng address more than 20 affiliates, together with members of his team. Although the media were not allowed to sit in on the meeting that took place on the second floor of the restaurant, applause could be heard from below.

One of his running mates, Zaki Maarof, told ST: "We are feeling very happy and positive going into this election. We are looking forward to Saturday and we are not shaken by the investigations."

One of the affiliates present, Starlight Soccerites president Arriola Buenaventura Alphonsus, said: "Mr Ng was emphasising the same things from his manifesto, that things will improve if he is elected. He also said that he is under investigation and at times like this, there will be rumours and bad press. He added that he is not supposed to talk much about the case."

While most of the affiliates ST approached yesterday remained mum about which team they were supporting, Alphonsus was one who declared his allegiance to the Game Changers openly.

He said: "For 20 years, I have been crying out for improvements to the NFL (National Football League) and grassroots but the FAS never did anything. I don't give a damn about (Team LKT) any more. It's time a new team is given the chance to prove themselves."

Ng, a 57-year-old corporate rescue specialist, is out on bail. Also out on bail are his wife Bonnie Wong, former FAS president and former MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC Zainudin Nordin, and FAS general secretary Winston Lee.

On April 20, CAD officers raided the FAS offices at Jalan Besar, and the clubhouses of S-League club Hougang, NFL club Tiong Bahru and S-League sit-out club Woodlands Wellington.

This followed a police report lodged by national sports agency Sport Singapore into suspected misuse of club funds at Tiong Bahru and an attempt to obstruct an audit into S-League sit-out clubs.

Ng's opponents in the election are Team LKT, led by lawyer and former FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2017, with the headline 'Buoyant Bill back to win affiliates' support'. Print Edition | Subscribe