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Timeline: What happened in the lead-up to Raeesah Khan's resignation from Workers' Party

Timeline: What happened in the lead-up to Raeesah Khan's resignation from Workers' Party

The Workers' Party (WP) candidate for Sengkang GRC, Raeesah Khan, during a walkabout at Rivervale Plaza on Jul 7, 2020. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: The Workers' Party (WP) on Thursday (Dec 2) pulled back the curtain on what happened internally in the lead-up to the resignation of Ms Raeesah Khan, who had lied in Parliament about a sexual assault case.

Ms Khan told party leaders about the lie a week after her original speech in August, said WP chief Pritam Singh.

In view of her personal matters and her "state of mind", she was given time to set the record straight in Parliament, said Mr Singh, who is also Leader of the Opposition.

But when questioned in the House in October, she repeated the "untruth", he added.

Ms Khan resigned from the party and as an MP on Nov 30 - nearly four months after her original speech that sparked questions about her claims.

The WP held a press conference on Thursday to explain the matter and how it will move forward. 

This is a timeline of what has happened since August, based on events in Parliament and statements from the Workers' Party.

Aug 3: The WP raised a motion in Parliament on empowering women.

Ms Khan delivered a speech in which she claims she accompanied a victim of sexual assault to a police station. She alleged that the police mishandled the case. 

Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan asked for more details, saying the allegations are serious and need to be investigated.

After that, Mr Singh asked Ms Khan to do her best to contact the individuals involved. Ms Khan initially "stuck to her untruths" in her communication with him, he said.

Week of Aug 10: After being "repeatedly pressed" on the matter, Ms Khan told party leaders about "new facts and disturbing personal revelations", said Mr Singh.

These involved her own sexual assault, he said.

Mr Singh's "immediate concern" was that she had not informed her family members. He felt she should do so before addressing her behaviour in Parliament and correcting 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," he said.

But she was told that "any parliamentary clarification on this matter was hers to make in her capacity as an elected Member of Parliament".

September: Ms Khan came down with shingles and did not attend Parliament.

Oct 4: Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam asked Ms Khan in Parliament to provide more details. She declined to do so, citing the need for confidentiality.

She also said she has not been successful in contacting the victim.

This account was "wholly inconsistent" with the revelations she had shared with the party leadership in August, said Mr Singh.

He added that "almost immediately" after this sitting, Ms Khan agreed with party leaders that she had to set the record straight. The next opportunity to do so was on Nov 1.

When asked why the claim was allowed to remain uncorrected, Mr Singh said at the press conference: “Each Workers’ Party MP is a leader in his or her own right. And if you have done something wrong, it is your responsibility to set the record right."

He added there was indeed a risk "the issue would be exacerbated" in not having it corrected sooner.

Oct 20: The police said they have not been able to identify a case of sexual assault that Ms Khan had alleged was mishandled.

They added that Ms Khan had not responded to requests to provide more details.

Ms Khan said she plans to speak about the matter at the next parliamentary sitting on Nov 1.

Nov 1: Ms Khan makes a bombshell admission that she had lied in Parliament about the account, adding she had not accompanied a victim to the police station as claimed. She also apologised to the Singapore Police Force.

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah said she has "no choice" but to raise a formal complaint against Ms Khan for breaching her parliamentary privilege.

In a statement, Mr Singh said she should not have shared in Parliament an account that contained untruths.

Nov 2: The WP announced that it has formed a disciplinary panel to look into Ms Khan's admissions. The panel comprised Mr Singh, party chair Sylvia Lim and Mr Faisal Manap.

In the course of its work, the panel invited party members to share their views on the issue before it submits its report to the central executive committee for deliberation.

Nov 30, 4.30pm: Ms Khan informed Mr Singh about her intention to resign. Leaving the party would also mean vacating her position as MP. 

Nov 30, 8pm: The WP's central executive committee met to decide on the recommendations of their disciplinary panel.

Ms Khan attended the meeting and expressed her intention to resign. 

According to Mr Singh, Ms Khan tendered her resignation before the disciplinary panel could submit its recommendations.

But as the central executive committee had not received a resignation in writing, it proceeded to deliberate the panel's recommendations.

Committee members “voted overwhelmingly” that she would be expected to resign on her own accord - failing which she should be expelled from the party, said Mr Singh.

Nov 30, 10.47pm: Her resignation letter is sent to the Speaker of Parliament.

Dec 1: The Committee of Privileges said it will still continue to look into Ms Khan's conduct and present its report to Parliament “in due course”.

Dec 2: The WP held a press conference to explain the events, as well as the plans for how Sengkang GRC and the party would move forward.

Source: CNA/cl(gs)

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