More details on what transpired between the Workers' Party (WP) Disciplinary Panel and former Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan has been revealed.
On Nov. 2, the WP Central Executive Committee set up a DP to inquire into Raeesah's lies in Parliament. The DP comprised the Party’s three most senior members – Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Faisal Manap.
Two interviews were held with Raeesah, on Nov. 8 and 29, according to the Fourth Special Report from the Committee of Privileges.
The interviews sought to find out more about the preparation of Raeesah's Aug. 3 Parliament statement (which included the untruth), and whether Raeesah wanted to remain in the party at an MP.
During the Committee of Privileges hearing on Dec. 13, WP Chair Sylvia Lim shared more about what she had written in her notes during the Nov. 29 interview involving Raeesah Khan and the DP.
Why Raeesah Khan felt the need to stay on
When asked about why Raeesah felt the need to stay on, during the Nov. 8 interview, this was what was recorded according to Lim's notes:
"We also tried to ask her why she feels she needs to stay on — and that would be the last page of my type-written notes — she said she can understand why some people (would) think that she should resign but if she does not show that she can turn the matter around and contribute, there'll be repercussions on her personally and also how people view minority women. Alright, so that is her thinking."
Believed that a by-election would be triggered with a single resignation
During the Nov. 29 interview, Lim said that Raeesah was crying "most of the time".
Lim also shared her observation that Raeesah "appeared to not be very careful about the things that she was doing in general."
Raeesah had apparently talked to her teammates about how she should not leave the team, because "if she left, there would be a by-election triggered". Lim said:
"I asked her how she came to that conclusion? She said she was informed by someone that this was the case. And I asked whether she had checked, and she said that she had checked. And her checking revealed that the Prime Minister can decide whether a vacancy in a GRC would trigger a by-election.
So we all know the law on this. It's quite clear. And this also raised alarm bells with me because I mean, I think, as an MP, you would be expected to check such a thing before perhaps believing what people tell you, or you know, at least do your research. So this was another area of concern, I wasn't sure of her ability to actually exercise due diligence to check matters and so on."
Writ of Election issued only if all GRC MPs vacate their seats
During the WP press conference on Dec. 2, Lim referred to the Parliamentary Elections Act, stating that a Writ of Election shall be issued only if all the MPs for the GRC have vacated their seats.
If only one of the MPs vacates their seat, the needs of residents in the GRC would continue to be served by the remaining members of the GRC team.
She also confirmed that the remaining Sengkang GRC MPs would not resign to trigger a by-election.
Questions about whether Raeesah had wanted to resign earlier on was also brought up during Nov. 29.
Lim said that when Raeesah was pressed, it emerged that she had drafted some messages earlier on "intending to resign for one reason for another".
Lim also said that Raeesah had sent a message to Singh on Aug. 4 asking him if she has a future in the party.
Lim added, "So in that sense, in terms of emotional stability, we felt that there were causes for concern on our side."
Top photo via gov.sg/YouTube.