'If nothing is there, we back our candidate': PM Lee defends Ng Ling Ling amid online allegations
Before the dust even settles on the Ivan Lim incident, more online allegations have surfaced against the People's Action Party's (PAP) candidates in quick succession.
Newcomer Shawn Huang has had to speak up to dispel rumours about a name change and other misunderstandings and now, the latest PAP candidate to undergo scrutiny is Ng Ling Ling.
And Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong himself directly addressed the online allegations against her at a virtual press conference today (June 29).
Ng, 48, who was introduced as a candidate for PAP's Ang Mo Kio GRC team at the event had been accused by an ex-colleague of making "a false claim" that she had started the Social Service Training Institute (SSTI).
In a Facebook post early this morning, Richard Giam, who is founding chief executive of fund-raising firm Rainmakerz, wrote: "I believe PAP candidate Ng Ling Ling made a false claim. She was not the one who set up Social Service Training Institute."
The post referenced Ng's self-introduction at PAP's virtual press conference on June 25, where she had said: "I set up the Social Service Training Institute and I allocated funds to ensure that social service agencies can run critical programmes."
The founding director of the organisation was Tan Bee Heong, Giam wrote, adding that it would be "misleading and deceptive" for one to publicly claim that they set up a team when they were only one of the contributing members.
Tan herself later acknowledged the post and wrote: "Thanks for the facts!"
On the allegations about Ng, PM Lee said: "I would say with social media, it is very easy now for issues to be picked up, for people to make criticisms, and these criticisms will be circulated around and possibly gain currency whether or not they are founded.
"You can never say that nothing is there and if something turns out to be there, we have to deal with it. If nothing is there, well, then we back our candidate."
PM Lee noted that in the case of Lim, who withdrew as a candidate on June 27, there was "not enough time" for a thorough investigation.
Ng also took to Facebook this morning to clarify the incident and wrote: "A small team worked on SSTI and I was part of that team.
"Bee Heong was the Director, and I was a member of her pioneer team."
At the virtual press conference, Ng said about the incident:
"Like [PM Lee] said, none of us is perfect and I'll be the first to confess that I'm not a perfect person.
"I have worked… to help people and to care for people and I'll continue to do that and I'll focus on that in the campaign."
Giam has since come forward to clarify that he merely wanted to "defend the facts and not to tear any party down." He added: "We all make mistakes, including me, but I stand by what I posted."