A day after Raeesah Khan admitted in Parliament (1 Nov 2021) that she had lied about accompanying a rape assault victim to make a police report, Workers’ Party (WP) announced the formation of a disciplinary panel to look into the admissions made by Ms Raeesah in Parliament.
The panel comprised Pritam Singh who is the secretary-general, chair Sylvia Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap. The panel would report its findings and recommendations to the central executive committee after it has completed its work.
A serious attempt at inquiry or a farce?
But now, we know that the Workers’ Party leadership had known very early on that Raeesah Khan had told a lie in Parliament.
In fact, Mr Singh revealed that all three members of the panel knew about the lie one week after Raeesah made the allegation in Parliament on 3 August.
So what was there for the disciplinary panel to look into or investigate? Was the disciplinary panel a farce just to make the WP look good, to be seen to be taking action? To cover their lack of action earlier?
It’s also interesting to note that on the day Raeesah admitted to lying in Parliament, Mr Singh had posted a Facebook post praising her for doing the right thing. The panel was only announced the day after when the outcry over her admission did not abate.
Duty of the Leader of the Opposition
The Leader of the Opposition is not just a fanciful title. It is an official appointment. It carries responsibilities.
Mr Singh is not just an MP. He is the appointed Leader of the Opposition. Yet he allowed the lie to persist and to be repeated despite having full knowledge of it very early on. Instead of taking action to put right the situation, he abdicated his responsibilities when he told Raeesah that ‘any parliamentary clarification on this matter was hers to make in her capacity as an elected Member of Parliament’.
He was also contented to let the police spend hundreds of hours finding the loop for a non-existent case while he gave time for Raeesah to ‘close the loop’ with her family. At best, this can be described as a lame excuse for inaction.
What if the police had been less than persistent in wanting to take the (non-existent) police officers to task? Would the Leader of the Opposition remained quiet about the lies despite knowledge of it? I shudder at the thought of it.