Workers’ Party Raeesah Khan has resigned from the Workers’ Party (WP). The party announced this in a statement on 30 November. Ms Khan had indicated to Mr Singh, the Secretary-General of WP, her intention to resign earlier in the day before conveying her intention to the CEC.
Ms Khan’s resignation came before work by the Committee of Privileges, which has begun investigating her lies in Parliament, has been completed. Perhaps the WP hopes that with her resignation, it will draw a line under the matter and that the Workers’ Party will now be seen as just and righteous, as former NMP Calvin Cheng commented.
But questions remain and the answers to these questions are important.
When did the WP leadership know about the lies? What did they know about the lies? What did they do with this knowledge?
“It is incomprehensible that nobody else knew anything before Raeesah Khan made the admission in Parliament,” said Calvin.
Indeed, former NCMP and WP cadre until recently, Daniel Goh had noted in a Facebook post, when Ms Khan first admitted to lying in Parliament, that all speeches were shared and vetted by the WP MPs before they were delivered in Parliament. Prof Goh was of the opinion that the leadership has to bear some responsibility for this saga. Is Ms Khan thrown under the bus to save WP?
In a Facebook post responding to the announcement of Ms Khan’s resignation, Prof Goh wrote:
“Timing is everything. Why resign now one month after the parliamentary apology and just hours before the CEC meeting when the disciplinary committee findings were to be discussed and a decision taken? Did RK know the outcome already? How? What motivated her to resign only now? Did anyone of importance asked her to resign and why? All too convenient when so many inconvenient questions for the WP leadership remained unanswered. In politics, these can become a sticky ugly scent eroding trust.
My mind keeps conjuring up that memory of more than a year ago when Pritam stood with an apologising RK and the WP Sengkang team behind them in the full glare of media cameras, the message being we know and we support her. How quickly things change. I suppose a year is many lifetimes in politics.”
2 days before WP’s announcement of Ms Khan’s resignation, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said in his speech at the PAP Convention 2021 (28 Nov) that Singaporeans expect MPs and political leaders to be clean, above reproach in their personal conduct, and to be scrupulously truthful in everything they say, whether inside or outside Parliament.
These are the high standards set by the PAP since they came into power in 1959. Mr Lee also said that voters must apply the same standards to everyone and every group who participates in politics, whichever side they may be on. In other words, voters must not be double standards, applying a high standard to the PAP and a different, lower standard to the opposition.
If voters do not apply the same high standards to the opposition, the system will eventually be dragged down. And we will one day ends up with a government that is less than honest. We have seen in many countries what happened to citizens when the government is less than honest. Is this the direction we want to go?