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WP leadership knew about Raeesah Khan's 'untruth' a week after her original speech in August: Pritam Singh


SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party's (WP) leadership was made aware of the fact that Ms Raeesah Khan had lied about a sexual assault case a week after her original speech in August , said party chief Pritam Singh on Thursday (Dec 2).

Ms Khan also repeated the untruth in Parliament in October, despite being asked to clarify the matter then, said Mr Singh.

Ms Khan resigned from the party and as an MP on Tuesday night, following her parliamentary admission on Nov 1 about lying in Parliament about accompanying a sexual assault victim to the police station.

The claim arose during her speech on a WP motion on empowering women on Aug 3, in which she alleged that the case had been mishandled by the police .

In a press conference on Thursday, Mr Singh explained that after she first made her speech in August, he asked her to “make her best efforts to contact the victim or to contact the individuals” involved as authorities sought more details.

“Initially, Raeesah stuck to her untruth in her communication with me,” said Mr Singh.

“After being repeatedly pressed, a number of new facts and disturbing personal revelations were disclosed. These concerned Raeesah’s sexual assault and events which were unknown to the party leadership at that time, and other related matters of a deeply personal nature.”

She admitted this to party leadership about a week after she had delivered her speech, said Mr Singh, adding that she said these personal traumas explained why she had not been truthful about her account.

Of “immediate concern” to Mr Singh was that Ms Khan had not previously informed her family members of her sexual assault, he said.

“In my judgment, it was important that she did so before she could fully address the reasons behind her untruthful conduct in Parliament, and to correct the record.

"In view of a sexual assault and my assessment of her state of mind, I was prepared to give her the space necessary to address the matter with her loved ones.”

After that, Ms Khan came down with shingles in September and did not attend Parliament.

“It was nonetheless made known to her before the parliamentary sitting in October, that any parliamentary clarification on this matter was hers to make in her capacity as an elected Member of Parliament.”

Yet, when questioned by the Minister for Home Affairs in Parliament on Oct 4, Ms Khan “repeated an untruth on the parliamentary record, which was wholly inconsistent with the revelations she had shared with the party leadership after Aug 3”, said Mr Singh.

“Almost immediately after Parliament adjourned in October, Raeesah agreed with the party leadership that she had to set the record right forthwith. I shared with her that it was the correct thing to do. The next earliest opportunity to do so in Parliament was on Nov 1."

He added: "Ms Khan then sent her resignation letter to me on Nov 30."

In response to questions over why Ms Khan did not follow orders to clarify the matter in October, Mr Singh said: “Why she didn't take heed that instruction; why did she ignore it; that’s not a question I can answer.”

But he added that as she was an MP of WP, the party had to take responsibility, and account to the public about what happened.

“I wish to end this statement by apologising to the residents of Sengkang for this turn of events. I also apologise to all victims of sexual assault, who’ve been hurt by this matter.”

He added that public trust and confidence in the WP is “fundamental” to the ethos of the party as “a rational, responsible and respectable institution in Singapore politics”.

“Singaporeans have the right to expect the best efforts from Workers Party MPs, and we should never take their faith, trust and confidence in us for granted.”

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