SINGAPORE (The Nation/Asia News Network): Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan has resigned from the Workers' Party (WP), which also means that she has resigned from her position as an MP.
The WP announced this in a Facebook post on Tuesday night (Nov 30), saying its top leadership had met at 8pm to deliberate and decide on the recommendation of a disciplinary committee that had been formed to investigate Khan’s admissions in Parliament.
Khan, 27, had on Nov 1 admitted to lying in Parliament at an earlier sitting about details of a sexual assault case that she had alleged was mishandled by the police.
The matter was referred to a Committee of Privileges, which has begun its work into the complaint that she had lied in Parliament.
The WP said Khan had, at 4.30pm on Tuesday, indicated to WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh her intention to resign from the party.
“She then attended the CEC meeting at 8pm and conveyed in person her intention to resign,” it added, referring to its Central Executive Committee.
The party said it will hold a press conference on Thursday to provide more information on the matter and to share its plans to ensure that Sengkang residents, particularly in Compassvale ward that Khan had been responsible for, continue to be cared for and represented.
Khan also posted on her social media accounts her letter of resignation as an MP, addressed to Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.
She reiterated her apology to the House, to the people of Sengkang, and to her volunteers, and added that she would be spending more time with her family and on causes she is passionate about.
She added that she will assist with the Committee of Privileges.
Khan was voted into Parliament in the July 2020 General Election as part of the four-member WP team contesting Sengkang GRC.
During a debate on empowering women brought by the WP on Aug 3, she told the House that she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape victim to a police station to make a police report three years ago. She had also said that the officer who interviewed the victim had allegedly made inappropriate comments about her dressing and the fact that she was drinking.
On Oct 4, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam asked her to provide more details about the alleged incident, saying the police had since checked their records and found no cases that fit Khan’s description.
In reply, Khan said her account was true but repeatedly declined to reveal any further details – including the police station they went to – citing confidentiality. She added that she had not been successful in contacting the victim.
On Nov 1, she admitted that she had not accompanied the victim to the police station. Instead, she said the victim had shared the account in a support group for women, which Khan herself was a part of, and that she did not have the victim’s consent to share the story.
She said she lacked the courage to admit she was in the support group, as she had been a victim of sexual assault at the age of 18.
Leader of the House Indranee Rajah said Khan had lied to Parliament on three occasions, raised an official complaint against her for breaching parliamentary privilege, and asked for the matter to be referred to the Committee of Privileges.
Separately, the WP announced it had also formed a disciplinary panel to look into the admissions made byKhan. The panel comprises Singh, WP chair Sylvia Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap.
Khan’s resignation means that Sengkang GRC will now have three MPs: He Ting Ru, Associate Professor Jamus Lim and Louis Chua.
However, under the law, there is no stipulation to hold a by-election for a GRC if a member of the team resigns. A by-election is needed only if all the MPs for the GRC vacate their seats.