WP leaders' prior knowledge of Raeesah's lie material only if they had told her to take lie to the grave
The fact that three Workers' Party leaders knew of former MP Raeesah Khan's lie from Aug 8 would be "material information" that had to be disclosed to the party's top leadership body only if they had - as she alleged - instructed her to take her lie to the grave, said Associate Professor Jamus Lim.
But if Ms Khan had been told to subsequently tell the truth after being given some time, then her prior confessions to party chief Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap would not have been material or relevant facts for the WP central executive committee (CEC), Prof Lim told the Committee of Privileges on Monday (Dec 13).
According to a fourth special report released by the committee on Tuesday, Prof Lim - a WP CEC member - had said that whether the senior party leaders' prior knowledge of the matter was material would "depend on what the truth of the matter was".
The report said Prof Lim initially agreed the CEC would have to determine the truth, taking into account the recommendations of a disciplinary panel that consisted solely of Mr Singh, Ms Lim and Mr Faisal.
"He subsequently said that he did not know who determined the truth, and that the truth was what everyone was trying to uncover," the report said.
The Committee of Privileges is looking into a complaint against Ms Khan, who had admitted lying in Parliament. She resigned in November from the party and her position as a Sengkang GRC MP.
Ms Khan said in a speech on Aug 3 that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to a police station, but that the victim later came out crying after being asked by the police about her dressing and whether she had been drinking.
Ms Khan has since confessed to lying about the case and admitted that she had not accompanied the victim to the police station.
During his testimony, Prof Lim confirmed that he did not know Ms Khan had told Mr Singh, Ms Lim and Mr Faisal about her lie when the CEC approved the formation of the disciplinary panel on Nov 2.
He also did not know of her confessions to the three leaders when the CEC decided on the panel's recommendations on Nov 30.
The report said Prof Lim was asked if he, as a CEC member, would have expected the disciplinary panel to be "disinterested from the episode and the surrounding circumstances, so that they had no personal interest in the matter which they were supposed to investigate".
He was also asked if he expected the CEC to be told about Ms Khan's confessions to the party leaders and what they knew on Oct 4, when Ms Khan repeated her lie in Parliament in response to Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam.
In response, Prof Lim said: "If there was anything material, I trust that the leadership would have shared that with us."
Prof Lim, an MP for Sengkang GRC, also told the committee that the points made by the disciplinary panel were secondary to his decision.
He said: "I trusted the disciplinary panel to lay out what was material and necessary. But it would have been irresponsible for me to have made a decision of this gravity without also reflecting independently on what I could gather, as well as... the philosophy and principles behind what that decision would entail.
"So I did spend an extended amount of time deliberating within myself, personally, again, almost to an extent where the few points that were made by the disciplinary panel during that CEC meeting were essentially secondary for my decision."
Prof Lim also confirmed that on Oct 29, the CEC was informed at an extraordinary meeting of Ms Khan's lie in Parliament, and that she would be delivering a personal explanation to clarify at the next Parliament sitting on Nov 1.
Her draft personal explanation was recited to CEC members who discussed and gave suggestions.
"Some members felt that the reference to Ms Khan being a sexual assault victim could sound like an excuse, but Prof Lim felt that it was important for her to state this," said the report.
According to the report, Prof Lim said that apart from what he was told at the Oct 29 meeting, he generally learnt of the facts concerning this matter only when they became public.
The people whom he had obtained feedback from would likewise have been unaware of these facts as they were not public knowledge as at Nov 30, when the panel presented its recommendations to the CEC.