Raeesah Khan probe: COP issues summons to WP leaders for failure to produce internal documents

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  • Raeesah Khan
    Singaporean politician
  • Muhamad Faisal Manap
    Member of Parliament in Singapore
The Workers' Party leaders Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Faisal Manap testifying in December 2021 before the Committee of Privileges tasked with investigating former WP Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan's lies in Parliament. (SCREENSHOTS: Gov.sg/YouTube)
The Workers' Party leaders Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Faisal Manap testifying in December 2021 before the Committee of Privileges tasked with investigating former WP Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan's lies in Parliament. (SCREENSHOTS: Gov.sg/YouTube)

SINGAPORE — The Committee of Privileges (COP) tasked with investigating a complaint about former Sengkang Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan’s lies in Parliament on Wednesday (15 December) issued summons to three top Workers’ Party (WP) leaders over their failure to produce internal documents as requested by the COP.

In its fifth special report released on Wednesday, the COP said it had previously asked WP’s chief Pritam Singh, chair Sylvia Lim and vice chair Faisal Manap to produce documents, including internal correspondence between senior leadership concerning issues raised by the COP.

The requests were raised on various occasions from last Friday to Tuesday.

“However, Mr Pritam Singh, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap have failed and/or refused to provide them. As such, a summons was each issued to Mr Pritam Singh, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Muhamad Faisal Bin Abdul Manap on 15 December 2021,” the COP said in its report.

The COP will consider the responses from Singh, Lim and Faisal on the summons next Monday.

The proceedings of the COP have largely concluded apart from a few outstanding matters, according to the COP, which will present its findings and recommendations to Parliament in due course.

On 3 August, Raeesah alleged in Parliament that she had accompanied a victim of sexual assault to a police station three years ago. The victim was supposedly subject to remarks by a police officer at the station about her dressing and questions on whether she had been drinking.

On 4 October, the former MP stood by her anecdote in Parliament under questioning by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

Raeesah admitted in Parliament on 1 November that she had lied about the incident and issued a tearful apology. The revelation prompted the Leader of the House Indranee Rajah to file a complaint for a COP to be convened to investigate Raeesah’s lies in Parliament.

On 30 November, the WP said Raeesah had resigned from the party and as MP of Sengkang.

Pritam recalled by COP

Meanwhile, Singh was recalled by the COP on Wednesday over a document produced by Lim and submitted to the COP. The document contained notes that Lim wrote during the WP’s Disciplinary Panel (DP) interview with Raeesah on 29 November arising from an exchange between Singh and Raeesah:

“PS: Before Oct session, I met you + I told you it was your call. Did need to tell the truth in Parliament occur to you?

RK: Yes but consumed with guilt + own experience. Thought it wouldn’t come up.

PS: Can’t lie right?

RK: Yes.”

In the COP's questioning led by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, Singh was told that there were two issues arising from Lim’s notes – what Singh had told Raeesah on 3 October, and second, what Raeesah should do, and what Singh expected her to do, if the matter arose.

Singh said Lim’s notes accurately reflected what he had said to Raeesah during the DP hearing on 29 November. He agreed that the phrase “your call” might be interpreted as him telling Raeesah on 3 October that she had to make a choice as to whether to tell the truth or continue to lie, if she was asked in Parliament on 4 October.

“However, Mr Singh said that what he had meant when he said ‘your call’ was not this ordinary meaning, but that Ms Khan should take responsibility for her work in Parliament,” according to the report.

What he had said had to be looked at in context, Singh added. While he had used the language “It is your call to make” on 29 November to describe what he had told Raeesah on 3 October, “those were not the words he had in fact used to Ms Khan on 3 Oct, and the words he used did not offer Ms Khan a choice”, the report said.

Singh said, “I think it was in the context of how she was responding to us. That whole meeting on the 29th was a meeting where she was just continually crying and crying and crying, and in that context, I put a question that I felt would elicit a response that could be helpful to the DP.”

Singh was also asked why he had not told Raeesah in “clear, simple, direct terms” on 3 October that she must own up and tell the truth in Parliament, given that she was a new MP and that she admitted in August that she had lied in Parliament.

In his reply, Singh said that he had communicated to Raeesah in his own way on 3 October for her to take ownership and responsibility.

Singh was also asked about the evidence by Loh Pei Ying, Raeesah’s aide, to the COP, regarding how he had recounted to Loh about his meeting on 3 October with Raeesah.

“Mr Singh agreed that Ms Loh’s takeaway from her conversation with Mr Singh, was that Mr Singh had, on 3 Oct, given Ms Khan a choice whether to tell the truth or continue the lie,” according to the report.

The generally mild exchange between Tong and Singh on Wednesday was a stark contrast to last Friday’s marathon nine-hour COP session, when at times they engaged in heated and tense arguments.

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