For all his talk on taking ownership and responsibility, Mr Pritam Singh is definitely not taking ownership and responsibility for the role that he had played in allowing the lie to persist for a few months without doing anything about it.
He gave the weak excuse that every WP MP is a leader who took their oath individually to speak the truth and therefore they are individually responsible for the things they say in Parliament.
If Pritam thinks it is not his responsibility to set right what one of his members had done wrong, then why did he declare so arrogantly to Mr Edwin Tong that he was the ‘Leader of the Opposition?
The Leader of the Opposition is a weighty title that carries with it responsibilities. It is not an empty title. Surely, that responsibility includes maintaining the highest standard of integrity in the opposite bench in Parliament.
Not only did Pritam fail to direct Raeesah to come clean, he also said that he would not voluntarily clarify the truth if the matter did not get raised on 4 Oct, or if Raeesah did not clarify.
He was prepared to let the lie slide. What does this tell us about the value of truth to him? Only when it is convenient?
It is clear to an objective observer that the WP leaders made no attempt to correct or to inform all of the falsehood that was repeatedly stated in Parliament.
After Ms Khan reiterated her lies on 4 October 21, there was no excuse for Pritam and the other two WP leaders to withhold the truth from Parliament on 4 Oct 21, or even by 5 Oct 21 when Parliament was in session.
As a lawyer commented, “Whatever Pritam may have meant in his “it was your call” , as the Leader of the Opposition he was complicit in deceiving Parliament when he buried his head under the sand and made no attempt whatsoever to forthwith inform Parliament that Ms Khan had been lying.
Faisal and Ms Lim were clearly complicit in deceiving Parliament in keeping silent when the falsehood was repeated in their presence on 4 and 5 Oct 21.
The WP leaders cannot shrug off their duty to inform Parliament of the truth. Their radio silence and acquiescence to the blatant repeated lies is equally reprehensible as members of Parliament. They owe a duty to Singaporeans to disclose the falsehood at the earliest opportunity.
Pritam, Faisal and Ms Lim have failed miserably in their duties as MPs. No amount of clever lawyering and playing with words before the COP can exonerate Pritam et al. They are equally guilty of deceiving Parliament by their flagrant acquiescence and omission to tell the truth. This is clearly a material misconduct on all 3 of them by any definition.”
The WP is very fond of talking about transparency and accountability. Back in one of their election rallies in 2011, Pritam had thundered that ‘transparency’ was a thread that ran through the Workers’ Party.
Transparency and accountability?
Transparency and accountability are not what we see in this saga.
There is clearly a disconnect between what WP says and what they do.
Pritam thinks it is irrelevant for the public or even his own party CEC to know that he, Ms Sylvia Lim and Mr Faisal Manap knew of Raeesah’s lies just days after she said them in Parliament.
That the leadership kept silent for 2 whole months when they knew of the lies made them complicit in the lies. So why is this bit of information irrelevant to the public, or to their CEC?
Is ‘relevance’ measured by that which makes WP look good to the public and ‘irrelevance’ that which does not?
This brings to mind the AHTC saga which ran for many years because WP refused to admit to their negligence of town council finances or do a forensic audit themselves to set things right. It went to the extent where a court order was obtained to compel them to open their books for transparency and accountability.
Up till the present saga, WP wielded the victim card with an excellence that saw them win the last election with a greater share of votes and an additional GRC.
Someone commented that the mistake that WP made was to bring Raeesah Khan in at the last election. This is too superficial a view.
‘Raeesah’ might have been a mistake but this mistake also brought out in full glare, the real WP beyond their beautiful rhetoric. It is an eye-opener.
In this sense, it is a blessing in disguise. At least we are brought to a new starting point with WP.
Singaporeans are just paying the price for cutting so much slack for the opposition parties, and WP in particular.
Where do we go from here? Much depends on supporters. They used to turn a blind eye to WP’s misdeeds. Will they now close both eyes to the latest unfolding drama or will they now hold WP up to a standard?