Raeesah Khan says WP leaders were 'out of line' to use mental illness to discredit her
It was "extremely out of line" for Workers' Party (WP) leaders to portray her as emotionally and mentally unstable in events relating to a lie she had told in Parliament, said former WP MP Raeesah Khan.
Ms Khan was testifying on Wednesday (Dec 22) to the Committee of Privileges investigating her over her Aug 3 lie in Parliament, when she had fabricated details about the police's handling of a sexual assault case during a speech.
She came clean to WP leaders on Aug 8, explaining that she had lied because of the personal trauma of being sexually assaulted; and admitted to her lie in Parliament on Nov 1. She eventually resigned from both the party and her post as MP on Nov 30.
On Nov 29, Ms Khan had told a WP disciplinary panel that her therapist said she "might" have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which could lead to dissociation - a mental health condition where a person disconnects from one's thoughts and feelings, resulting in emotional numbing and an altered sense of time, among others.
"But I never said that this was something that I was going through," Ms Khan told the committee on Wednesday.
WP chief Pritam Singh had earlier told the committee on Dec 10 that Ms Khan's dissociation could have prompted her to lie in a text message to her aides saying the party's leaders had told her to take her lie "to the grave".
Ms Khan had sent this message on Aug 8, after she met with Mr Singh, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap.
On Wednesday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong, who sits on the committee, said the impression he got from the testimonies of all three leaders was that Ms Khan had been very emotionally affected on Aug 8, and was unable to have a conversation on the issue.
Ms Khan said: "If I was not able to have a discussion on this issue, then why would I have been left on my own to make a decision as they have claimed, which is not what happened?"
She was referring to Mr Singh saying he had asked her to take ownership and responsibility of the lie and clarify it.
"And to use mental illness as a way to discredit someone, I think, is extremely out of line," she added.
Ms Khan later reiterated the same point when asked about Mr Singh's version of events of Oct 4, when Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam pressed her in Parliament to provide more details of her allegation against the police.
The Leader of the Opposition had recounted that after repeating her lie, Ms Khan had met him and Ms Lim late that night in a "dazed, distraught" state, and eventually "completely broke down".
"(Mr Singh is) trying to paint this picture of me as being emotionally or mentally unstable," said Ms Khan on Wednesday. "Which, again, I think is completely out of line and hopefully there's a testimony that would say that I'm of sound mind."
She added that she had been "stressed" but was not crying then.
As Speaker of Parliament and committee chairman Tan Chuan-Jin brought the hour-long hearing to a close, Ms Khan asked to make a statement.
"I think talking about mental health, especially in this day and age, is very sensitive," she said. "And to use it to discredit someone, I think, sets back our movement to work on mental health and... to encourage people to seek help when they need."
Watch the video of the hearing: