Lim Kia Tong new FAS president, Team LKT wins Singapore elections
Lim Kia Tong has called for the Singapore football fraternity to unite after he was voted in as the new president of the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) on Saturday.
In the first-ever democratic election of the FAS council, Lim and his Team LKT were ushered in as the organisation's executive committee for the next four years after seeing off the challenge of Bill Ng's Game Changers.
A two-thirds' majority was required to emerge triumphant in the first round of voting. Team LKT duly achieved that by garnering 30 votes from the 44 FAS affiliates, compared to Game Changers' 13, with one vote declared invalid.
"Today is a victory for Singapore football," Lim said. "Today, the voters sent out a clear and resounding statement about the kind of values they embrace.
"This will be the foundation that our future will be built on [and] this is the mandate that will bring sweeping changes to Singapore football.
"Of course, in managing and administrating the game of football, unity and solidarity is of utmost importance.
"As I mentioned in my closing speech [after the election], we are embracing even our opponents in moving the game forward."
Supporting Lim will be deputy president Bernard Tan and four vice presidents -- Edwin Tong, S. Thavaneson, Teo Hock Seng and Razali Saad. Given the previous FAS leadership had come under recent criticism, it was perhaps surprising that Team LKT, whose six-man slate had all served on previous councils, won by the margin they did.
When asked what he felt motivated the affiliates to entrust their future to the same stewards again, Tong explained: "There were several factors, one of which includes the team being very sincere in wanting to engage and coming up with very clear programs that we will implement.
"Also, at the end of the day, I think [there was] a sense of trust in the integrity of the team and the belief that is the team to take Singapore football forward."
Despite being visibly disappointed at his team's defeat, Ng remained magnanimous as he briefly stopped to speak to ESPN FC before making a quick exit.
The Hougang United chairman said: "We have to respect the result -- they deserve it.
"They're the best 11 and the best 11 wins, so we will be the 12th man.
"The first thing Singapore football needs is to be reunited, not split -- that is the key message.
"Football is a game that's very big, fast, dynamic, and we can play the supporting role."
Apart from the new six member executive committee, the new council will also be made up of nine other members: Dinesh Nair, Forrest Li, Darwin Jalil, Sharda Parvin, Lim Tong Hai, Yakob Hashim, Rizal Rasudin, Michael Foo and Kelvin Teo.
The build-up to Saturday's landmark event had been overshadowed by Ng's Game Changers making allegations against the previous FAS leadership over the impropriety of funds.
The situation culminated with Ng and his wife Bonnie Ng, ex-FAS president Zainudin Nordin and current FAS general secretary Winston Lee being arrested by police for questioning over the alleged misuse of a S$500,000 donation by the former to FAS.
Gabriel Tan is a TV and radio pundit who writes for ESPN FC and The New Paper on Southeast Asian football. Twitter: @gabetan13.