GE2020: WP stands by Sengkang GRC candidate Raeesah Khan, who apologises for ‘insensitive’ remarks

Workers' Party Raeesah Khan speaking to reporters at Compassvale Link on the night of 5 July 2020. (SCREENCAP: Yahoo News Singapore)
Workers' Party Raeesah Khan speaking to reporters at Compassvale Link on the night of 5 July 2020. (SCREENCAP: Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Workers’ Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh said on Sunday night (5 July) that the WP will stand by its General Election 2020 candidate Raeesah Khan following news of two police reports filed over comments on social media allegedly made by her.

Pritam, who was speaking to reporters at a doorstop at Blk 273E Compassvale Link, said the Sengkang GRC candidate is apologetic about the comments made by her when she was younger.

Raeesah appeared briefly before Pritam and read out a statement. She said, “My intention was never to cause social divisions but to raise awareness on minority issues. I apologise to any racial group or community who have been hurt by my comments. My remarks were insensitive and I regret making them.

“I feel very passionate about minority issues regardless of race. And in my passion, I made improper remarks. I will fully cooperate with police investigations.”

Pritam dismisses suggestions of gaps in vetting process

When fielding questions from the media, Pritam said that he was not aware of Raeesah’s social media posts. However, as WP secretary-general, he would not encourage his party members to sanitise their posts, as he prefers his members to be seen upfront and authentic to the public.

“In the event where there are certain comments they made which are untoward, I would expect them to explain themselves. I think the generation who had lived on social media in their adolescent years would have to understand the difference between what they do on social media and what happens when they enter public life,” he said.

Pritam also brushed off suggestions that there are gaps in the WP’s vetting process for their GE candidates.

“One of the most important considerations for our candidates is whether they can connect with the public, empathise with the public,” he said.

“Raeesah has been working the grounds for about a year, and from her interactions with residents, I know she takes each of their issues very seriously, regardless of race or religion. These are very important considerations when I consider someone for candidature... I’ve got no regrets in fielding a candidate who is like that.”

Comments on law enforcement, City Harvest Church court ruling

The police reports were made on Saturday and Sunday (4-5 July), the police said on Sunday in a statement, in response to media queries.

"She allegedly commented that Singapore law enforcement authorities discriminated against citizens, and that compared to other groups, rich Chinese and white people were treated differently under the law,” the statement added.

In the context of a news article on the City Harvest Church court ruling, she had also alleged to have commented that Singapore “jailed minorities mercilessly, harassed mosque leaders but let corrupt church leaders free” as well as “questioned who had been paid”.

"The police have consulted the Attorney-General's Chambers, which advised that an offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code is disclosed," said the police.

Police investigations are ongoing.

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