SINGAPORE — The Committee of Privileges investigating former Workers' Party (WP) Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan has recommended that she be fined $35,000 for lying to the House multiple times and abusing her parliamentary privilege.
In its final report to Parliament released on Thursday (10 February), the committee also recommended that WP chief Pritam Singh and vice-chairman Faisal Manap be referred to the public prosecutor to "consider if criminal proceedings ought to be instituted".
This is due to Singh's conduct during investigations, and Faisal's refusal to answer relevant questions.
The committee, which was chaired by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, did not recommend any action against WP chairman Sylvia Lim, noting that she was prepared to voluntarily tender evidence that was "damaging" to Singh.
Lim's handwritten notes of the WP's disciplinary proceedings, which she submitted to the committee during her testimony on 13 December, helped set "the position quite clearly", said the committee in its report.
Sanctions on WP leaders to be considered after criminal proceedings
Raeesah had admitted on 1 November last year that she had lied in Parliament on 3 August over a claim that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to a police station, where the victim was allegedly treated insensitively.
The committee concluded that Raeesah had acted under the guidance of the three senior WP leaders to keep to the untruth, and that she was not solely responsible for repeating the lie in Parliament on 4 October.
The committee said in the report that, following the conclusion by the public prosecutor on whether to initiate criminal proceedings against Pritam, it would consider sanctions for the roles of Singh, Lim and Faisal in Raeesah's lie, as well as lies told by Lim and Faisal to the committee while under oath or affirmation during the investigation.
It added that, while it is beyond its purview to recommended penalties to the three WP leaders, Parliament has the power to consider their roles in the lie, and impose sanctions in the context of the committee's findings.
The committee decided to refer the WP leaders to a public prosecutor, rather than recommending a new committee of privileges, since a new committee may not uncover more evidence.
Under the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act, if any MP has committed an offence of dishonourable conduct, abuse of privilege or contempt, Parliament may impose penalties and refer them to any select committee for a new probe.
Crisis in Singapore opposition politics
Raeesah had sparked one of the biggest crises in Singapore opposition politics since independence. Following her admission that she had lied repeatedly in Parliament about her interactions with an alleged sexual assault victim, she resigned as a party member and MP.
WP leaders admitted to knowing of Raeesah's lie days after she said it in August, raising questions as to why it remained uncorrected for three months. However, in Raeesah's testimony before the Committee of Privileges, she claimed that Singh and other senior party leaders had urged her to keep up the deception.
Further revelations have come following Singh's often combative nine-hour testimony before the COP, where he crossed swords with Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who sits on the COP. Singh, Lim and Faisal have denied Raeesah's claim before the COP, while Raeesah has insisted she is telling the truth.
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