Raeesah told WP leaders in August that she had lied: Pritam
She was given time to tell her family about her own sexual assault before addressing untruthful conduct
Workers' Party (WP) leaders were told by their MP Raeesah Khan that she had lied in Parliament about a week after she made false statements about a sexual assault case in a speech on Aug 3.
But the three leaders decided to give her time to deal with the matter because she had also told them she had been a sexual assault victim herself and had not told her family about it, WP chief Pritam Singh said yesterday.
Ms Khan was supposed to clarify the matter at the next Parliament sitting she was able to attend, in October.
But she did not and repeated untruths that were wholly inconsistent with the revelations she had shared with Mr Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap.
Speaking at a press conference two days after the WP announced Ms Khan's resignation from the party and as an MP, Mr Singh said he had asked her, in August, to make her best efforts to contact the victim she had cited in her speech.
"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, an event which was unknown to the party leadership at that time, and other related matters of a deeply personal nature."
He was immediately concerned that Ms Khan's own family was not aware of her assault, which had traumatised her.
It was important for the family to be told about this before Ms Khan could fully address the reasons behind her untruthful conduct, he added.
Mr Singh, who is Leader of the Opposition, added that after her admission to the WP leaders, Ms Khan came down with a case of shingles and could not attend the September Parliament sitting. But it was made known to her before the October sitting that any parliamentary clarification of this matter was supposed to be in her capacity as an elected MP, said Mr Singh.
In her August speech, Ms Khan said she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape victim to a police station to make a report, and that the officer who interviewed the victim had made inappropriate comments about the victim's dressing and the fact that she was drinking. But Ms Khan never accompanied the victim to a police station.
She later admitted that the victim had shared the account in a support group for women, which Ms Khan herself was in, and said she did not have the victim's consent to share the story.
When questioned in Parliament on Oct 4 by Minister for Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam - who said the police had checked their records and found no cases that fit Ms Khan's description - Ms Khan declined to provide details. She also said she had not been successful in contacting the victim.
Yesterday, Mr Singh said that almost immediately after the Oct 4 sitting, Ms Khan agreed with the party leadership that she had to set the record straight. The next opportunity to do so was on Nov 1, when she revealed that she had lied.
On Nov 2, the WP announced it had also formed a disciplinary panel to look into her admissions. The panel comprised Mr Singh, Ms Lim and Mr Faisal.
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