Lim Tean, the chief of the newly-minted People's Voice party, is facing legal troubles after a bankruptcy application was filed against him.
This was after he failed to repay US$150,000 (S$206,000) that he had supposedly taken from a Chinese national, named Huang Min, who is based in Shanghai.
Today reported on Dec. 19 that Huang filed the bankruptcy application through his lawyers to the High Court on Dec. 14.
Lim has allegedly not made any repayments of the loan, despite an order from the lower District Court previously.
This latest development could throw a spanner in the works and can potentially derail Lim's chances of contesting in the next general election.
In response to Today queries, Lim said: "Mr Huang Min can file whatever he wants. It is ridiculous to suggest I will allow myself to be bankrupted."
A private matter
Lim proceeded to post the full statement he issued to Today on Facebook on Dec. 19, claiming that this was a private dispute which served as a distraction from weightier issues, such as ministerial salaries.
He added that it was "not difficult" to understand why this issue has made the news, and claimed that his new political party has gained "thousands" of members and followers since its registration about two months ago.
He also said that he does not intend to comment on this personal issue any more, and that the "whole world" will take notice when he speaks on his next substantive matter.
You can see his post in full below:
What payment was for
Details of the disputed loan were reported by The Straits Times on Dec. 18.
According to Huang, he lent the money to Lim in September 2013, who agreed to pay it back by Nov. 30 that year.
However, Lim allegedly failed to do so.
A writ of summons was issued against Lim, which was filed on Dec. 14, 2017.
A State Courts Deputy Registrar ruled in August 2018 that Lim had to repay Huang, and District Judge Tan May Tee agreed with that ruling in November 2018.
Down payment or loan?
Lim's case was that Huang wanted to buy iron ore from his Indonesian mine, through a firm called Falcon Resources.
According to Lim, Huang allegedly made a "down payment" of US$150,000 for the iron ore, and wanted it termed as a loan for his own purposes.
But District Judge Tan said in her summary judgment that documents provided were not adequate in supporting Lim's assertion that the money was a down payment.
Tan also referred to an email sent by Lim to Huang in February 2017, in which he said he was making arrangements to start paying back the money within two months.
Tan said that the email was an "unequivocal admission" of the loan.
Lim appealed to the High Court, and the case is still pending.
Top image adapted from Lim Tean's Facebook page.