Pritam Singh rejects Committee of Privileges' findings, says Raeesah was disenchanted with WP, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Pritam Singh rejects Committee of Privileges' findings, says Raeesah was disenchanted with WP

This article is more than 12 months old

Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh on Tuesday (Feb 15) rejected a parliamentary committee's conclusions that he had guided his former Workers' Party (WP) MP Raeesah Khan to lie to Parliament last year, and that he had committed any offences as part of his role in the entire affair.

He acknowledged that he had given her too much time to clarify the lie, and said he had done so because he was sympathetic to how she had been a sexual assault victim.

But Mr Singh rejected Ms Khan's assertion that he had told her to take her lie "to the grave" and said a natural explanation for her behaviour was how it was human nature to feel "disenchantment" with the party and its leadership once she saw the curtain coming down on her political career after she resigned.

He also rejected the committee's finding that he had guided Ms Khan to lie for a second time in October.

"Not everybody reacts with loyalty to their party or their leaders when they realise that the curtain is coming down on them or their political careers," he said.

"When your departure is precipitated by an overwhelming loss of support from your party members and colleagues except for your closest allies, from a human behaviour standpoint, I can understand why a person would turn against one's party leaders."

The WP chief was speaking during a parliamentary debate on two motions relating to the Committee of Privilege's recommendations to fine Ms Khan $35,000, and for him and WP vice-chair Faisal Manap to be referred to the Public Prosecutor for possible criminal charges.

Mr Singh also said the evidence he submitted to the committee had either not been noted or included in the committee's report, and that the panel had also ignored some contemporaneous evidence given by party members even though it gave weight to such evidence from Ms Khan.

He rejected the committee's conclusion that he had "smeared" Ms Khan and "weaponised" her mental state.

Mr Singh said he had raised how she suffered from disassociation because she had brought it up herself, and to suggest she should not be excessively punished.

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah had filed motions calling on the House to agree with the findings and recommendations of a Committee of Privileges' report released last Thursday (Feb 10).

The panel, which comprised seven PAP MPs and one WP MP, had called for a $35,000 fine for Ms Khan for lying in August and October last year; and for Mr Singh as well as party vice-chair Faisal Manap to be referred to the Public Prosecutor for further investigations with a view to considering criminal proceedings.

On top of concluding that Ms Khan was acting under the guidance of party leaders when she repeated her lie; the panel determined that Mr Singh had lied while giving evidence under oath and that this could amount to perjury, and that Mr Faisal's refusal to answer questions could amount to contempt of Parliament.

Objecting to the motion calling on the House to refer him to the Public Prosecutor, Mr Singh said that should Parliament choose to adopt it, "I intend to clear my name and will cooperate fully with the Public Prosecutor".

"For this reason, I have kept my comments on the COP report for today's purposes very narrow and limited," he added.

This is a developing story.