COP’s Raeesah Khan report: Pritam Singh rejects findings, says WP’s evidences ignored

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Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh. (PHOTO: Screenshot/MCI YouTube channel)
Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh. (PHOTO: Screenshot/MCI YouTube channel)

SINGAPORE — Workers' Party (WP) secretary-general Pritam Singh rejected the findings of the Committee of Privileges (COP) on ex-WP Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan being instructed by him to take her lie in Parliament to the grave.

In an impassioned defence in Parliament on Tuesday (15 February), the Leader of the Opposition said that the COP had disregarded evidence provided by WP in its report, and came to conclusions that he had smeared Raeesah and "weaponised" her mental state, both of which he rejected.

Singh was speaking during a parliamentary debate on two motions relating to the COP recommendations to fine Raeesah $35,000 for lying to the House multiple times and abusing her parliamentary privilege; and for him and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap to be referred to the public prosecutor for possible criminal charges.

"The COP did not appear to want to get to the bottom of why Ms Khan first lied in Parliament nor why she had a propensity to lie with respect to her anecdote, both in and out of this House," he said.

"What took centrestage instead was her uncorroborated testimony that she was instructed to take her lie to the grave by the WP leadership, a fabrication which never came out from any witness at the Committee of Privileges except Ms Raeesah Khan herself. I reject this finding completely."

Conclusion rested on uncorroborated evidence by Raeesah

Singh said that the COP's conclusion that he told Raeesah to take her lie to the grave rested on an uncorroborated piece of evidence: a WhatsApp text originating from Raeesah herself.

"The COP does not question Ms Khan’s credibility even though she was the one who lied in this House, by her own admission, and even though she also lied when she first communicated with me about this matter," he said.

Singh added that several evidence he submitted to the COP had either not been noted, or not been included in the committee's report.

The first was the notes of the WP's disciplinary panel which showed that Raeesah tendered, on her own accord, documents which revealed that she the patient of a psychotherapist who had referred her to a psychiatrist. The second was that Raeesah had voluntarily shared with the panel on 29 November that she suffered from dissociation.

"I believed that Ms Khan should not be excessively punished for a condition she could be labouring under, and the COP ought to see it as a mitigatory point in her favour," he said.

"I reject this assertion that in raising the matter of Ms Khan’s mental health to a fact-finding body with a view to considering an appropriate punishment on her, I had somehow smeared her, or worse, somehow cast aspersions on those with mental health conditions."

Gave Raeesah too much time to clarify lie

Singh acknowledged, however, that he gave Raeesah too much time to clarify the lie she originally made on 3 August last year. The former Sengkang GRC MP had waited until 1 November before admitting that she had lied in Parliament over a claim that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to a police station, where the victim was allegedly treated insensitively.

Singh insisted that he had done so because he was sympathetic to how Raeesah had been a sexual assault victim, as recounted by her. However, he rejected Raeesah's assertion during the COP hearings that he had told her to "take the lie to the grave".

He said a natural explanation for her assertion was how it was human nature to feel "disenchantment" with the party and its leadership once she saw the curtain coming down on her political career after she resigned.

"When your departure is precipitated by an overwhelming loss of support from your party members and colleagues except for your closest allies, from a human behaviour standpoint, I can understand why a person would turn against one’s party leaders," Singh said.

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