SINGAPORE — The police will interview Workers' Party Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan over her claims in Parliament that they had mistreated an alleged rape victim in 2018, and investigate this "very serious matter", said Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam on Monday (4 October).
Delivering a Ministerial Statement in Parliament on Raeesah's claims, which she made in a parliamentary sitting on 3 August, Shanmugam added that any allegations of misconduct concerning specific officers will be referred to the Singapore Police Force's (SPF) Internal Affairs Office for further investigation.
During a parliamentary debate on empowering women, Raeesah had said that she accompanied a 25-year-old woman to make a police report three years ago. However, the woman came out of the police station crying and alleged that officers had made comments about her dressing, and the fact that she was drinking, according to Raeesah.
When asked by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan for more details, the Sengkang MP declined to elaborate as she did not wish for the woman to be traumatised again. She added that she has been unsuccessful in contacting her since the incident.
On Monday, Shanmugam again pressed Raeesah to elaborate on the incident, in order for police to investigate further. "The government is very serious about making sure that the police do the right thing. So if they haven't behaved well, then we must discipline them."
Asking for details such as the police station and the identities or the age, race and gender of the officers who attended to the alleged victim, the minister stressed, "This does not have to mean naming the victim. We will consider carefully how to protect the victim and deal with this matter sensitively."
In response, Raeesah declined to provide more details. "With regards to confidentiality with the survivor, I would not like to reveal any of this information," she said, adding that she did not know the officers' identities.
Noting that Speaker Tan Chuan-jin has the power to direct answers from MPs, Shanmugam then asked him to instruct Raeesah to at least reveal the month in which the incident allegedly took place. He added, "Can I ask through you Sir, for Ms Khan to confirm in this House, that everything she has told us is accurate, that she did accompany such a person, and such an incident did happen?"
Raeesah affirmed this but declined to elaborate, again citing the need to protect the victim.
Concluding the exchange, Shanmugam said, "Speaker and members will know that confidentiality doesn't extend to not telling us which police station. And Sir, I will leave it here for now. But that does not mean the matter has. The police will investigate this very serious matter further."
On 17 September last year, police issued a stern warning to Raeesah for two of her social media posts, which were brought to light during the 2020 General Election.
The police said that the warning was for the offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race for her social media posts on 2 February 2018 and 17 May 2020.
Raeesah then had apologised over the matter, saying that she had not intended to cause social unrest or division.
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