Daniel Goh, former Workers' Party (WP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), has weighed in on the admissions made by WP's Raeesah Khan in Parliament.
On. Nov. 1, Khan read out a statement revealing that she is a sexual assault survivor, and had lied in Parliament about personally accompanying a rape victim to a police station, where the report was allegedly mishandled. Instead, Khan said she had gotten the anecdote from another woman in a support group she attended, and did not get her consent to share it.
Leader of the House Indranee Rajah has raised a formal complaint, and the matter has been referred to the Parliament Privileges Committee.
Separately, the WP will also form a disciplinary panel to look into the matter.
Goh says Raeesah Khan incident has shaken his trust in the party
In a Facebook post on Nov. 3, Goh, who was a former party Central Executive Committee member, called the incident a "debacle" and said it has "affected him badly", adding:
"It has shaken my trust in the party, to which I gave almost ten good years to help build up, and to which I still belong as a cadre member. I can’t believe that a WP MP blatantly lied multiple times in Parliament."
The former WP CEC member was the party's organising secretary and chair of the media team, and contested in the 2015 GE as a candidate in the East Coast GRC. He did not contest in GE last year because of health reasons.
Don't let Raeesah Khan's transgression taint important issue of women's empowerment: Goh
Goh made the point that the incident is not just about Khan's admission that she lied, but "far more serious and damaging".
He said it impacts not just WP's credibility and the evolution of Singapore's political system "for the good of Singapore", but also on the empowerment of women, the very issue that Khan was speaking about in Parliament. Goh added:
"This is an issue I’ve spoken on several times in my time in Parliament and I hold it dearly close to my heart. I hope we will not forget what has been said and pushed for at that debate on the important motion.
I was incredibly proud of WP for raising and pushing for the motion. Don’t let Raeesah’s transgression taint this important issue please."
Raeesah Khan should not resign, but take responsibility instead: Goh
Goh then said that Khan should not resign, but instead, should take responsibility for this "grave transgression."
He added that resigning would be "too easy" and would be tantamount to "walking away" from her responsibility.
"I believe she should serve out her elected term going 100% into serving communities, families and individuals QUIETLY, no social media posting or posturing, so that the focus is on those she served and not herself.
We need to reclaim this spirit of service from the narcissistic vanities of the social media age. And Raeesah has a great opportunity to prove it is possible."
Goh said that asking Khan to resign because she may be a "liability to WP" or cause WP to lose elections comes from the "same political expediency of chasing votes" that gave rise to the incident in the first place.
He added, "We can do better as a public and a society demanding accountability from our political leaders. It is not about the votes."
Leadership should take responsibility too: Goh
Goh also highlighted the WP leadership's role for supposedly allowing the matter to "happen and persist over several months."
He said the leadership should also bear some responsibility, and not "throw [Khan] under the bus."
"The statement was not made on impulse. In my experience, speeches were shared and reviewed among MPs and we might disagree and debate, but we would make corrections or drop things entirely according to the collective consensus. If a mistake was made, we would immediately move to rectify it.
I hope the disciplinary panel made up of the top three leaders will recognise their responsibility IN this matter and accountability to the public ON this matter."
The disciplinary panel comprises Secretary-General Pritam Singh, Chair Sylvia Lim and Vice-Chair Faisal Manap.
You can see Goh's post below:
Top image from Gov.sg YouTube.
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