Workers' Party newcomer Raeesah Khan has had two police reports lodged against her on July 5, over alleged comments made about race on social media.
In the evening on the same day, Khan, who was accompanied by the WP's Sengkang GRC team and the party's Secretary-General Pritam Singh, apologised during a doorstop at Block 273E Compassvale Link.
Wasn't her intention to cause social division
Khan said it was never her intention to cause any social division, but instead to raise awareness on minority concerns.
She then apologised to any racial group or community who had been hurt by her comments.
Khan explained that she was passionate about minority issues regardless of race, and in her passion, had made improper remarks, and had to be accountable for them.
"My remarks were insensitive, and I regret making them," she said. She added that she will be cooperating fully with any police investigations.
Khan will continue campaigning
In response to questions from the media, Pritam said that he was not aware of the posts, but that the WP team would be supporting her, and the Sengkang GRC team will be "here with her".
In response to a question from the media on whether this was a failure in the party's candidate vetting process, Pritam said that he would be "a bit disappointed if our candidates will try to sanitise their past".
He added that candidates should be aware of the scrutiny from the public when becoming a public figure.
"And I think they should be upfront and authentic to the public. This is who they are. And in the event there are certain posts or certain comments that they may have made which are untoward, then I would expect them to explain themselves. And that's how I think that generation who has lived on social media, from the adolescent years will have to understand the difference between what you do on social media and what happens when you move into the public realm."
When asked how the party vets their candidates, Pritam said it was most important for their candidates to be able to connect and empathise with the public.
He added that Raeesah had been volunteering in the community for a year, and that she takes each case during Meet-The-People sessions seriously, regardless of race and religion.
He stated that he had no regrets fielding her as a candidate.
"She's very vested into what the issue is the resident is facing and what help that person needs. So I think those are very important ideas for me personally to consider someone's candidature whether you are able to put yourself and walk a mile in the shoes of someone who needs help and assistance. So I've got no regrets for fielding a candidate who is like that, and who is prepared to walk it with residents and solve their problems and issues and I think that's an important criteria, which resulted in Raeesah being selected as a candidate."
Pritam also said that Raeesah would continue campaigning with the Sengkang GRC team, but that the party would review the incident after campaigning.
The two reports were lodged against Khan on July 4 and 5.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Sunday, July 5, said: "She allegedly commented that Singapore law enforcement authorities discriminated against citizens, and that compared to other groups, rich Chinese and white people were treated differently under the law."
"In the context of a news article on the City Harvest Church ruling, Raeesah Khan allegedly commented that Singapore jailed minorities mercilessly, harassed mosque leaders but let corrupt church leaders who stole S$50 million walk free, and questioned who had been paid."
"The Police have consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which advised that an offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code is disclosed," the statement said.
Police investigations are ongoing.
She allegedly made one of her comments recently on May 17, 2020.
The other comments were allegedly made on Feb. 2, 2018.
Top photo from Jane Stephanie