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Workers' Party forms disciplinary panel to look into Raeesah Khan's admission of lying in Parliament

Workers' Party forms disciplinary panel to look into Raeesah Khan's admission of lying in Parliament

Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan speaks to members of the media on Jul 5, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The Workers' Party said on Tuesday (Nov 2) it has approved the formation of a disciplinary panel to "look into the admissions made" by Member of Parliament Raeesah Khan in Parliament on Monday.

On Monday, Ms Khan admitted to lying in Parliament about details of a rape case that she alleged was mishandled by the police, saying she did not accompany a victim to the police station as she had claimed.

She apologised to the Singapore Police Force and retracted an anecdote she had shared of a rape victim, saying her previous statement on the matter was "untrue".

The MP for Sengkang GRC has been referred to the Committee of Privileges for breach of parliamentary privilege.

The Workers' Party disciplinary panel comprises secretary-general Pritam Singh, chair Sylvia Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap.

The panel will report its findings and recommendations to the party's central executive committee after it completes its work, said the Workers' Party.

"The work of the Party's Disciplinary Panel is separate from any decision the Committee of Privileges of Parliament may make," it added.

CLAIMS OF POLICE MISHANDLING

Ms Khan first mentioned the rape case on Aug 3, during a Workers' Party motion on empowering women.

She said she had accompanied a 25-year-old woman to make a police report three years ago, and that the victim had come out crying because a police officer allegedly made comments about her dressing and the fact that she had been drinking.

The allegations prompted Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam to ask for more details of the case in Parliament, as well as an investigation by the Singapore Police Force.

In Parliament on Monday, Ms Khan admitted that she was "not present with the survivor in the police station as I described".

She said the anecdote was shared by a survivor in a women's support group that Ms Khan was part of.

"I did not share that I was a part of the group as I did not have the courage to publicly admit that I was a part of it," she said.

Ms Khan revealed that she was sexually assaulted when she was an 18-year-old studying abroad, and that it has traumatised her until today.

She apologised to the sexual assault victim in the case she brought up, saying she should not have shared it without her consent.

"As a survivor myself, I feel this failure deeply. It is important for me to take responsibility for my actions, for my error of judgment and to set the record straight," she said.

In referring Ms Khan to the Committee of Privileges, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah noted that she had lied in Parliament on three occasions and failed to substantiate the allegations.

Mr Singh earlier said on Monday that Ms Khan should not have shared in the House an account that contained untruths.

He noted that the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act gives an MP "significant freedom of speech", but that this "does not extend to communicating untruthful accounts, even if an MP's motives are not malicious".

Source: CNA/dv(rw)

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