SEX, LIES AND VIDEO-RECORDINGS
POLITICS always has a dirty side, no matter how clean it tries to be. In its worst disposition and desperate defence, it would lie and hide – under the cover of darkness, denial or parliamentary privilege.
ITS nemesis is the PUBLIC, stakeholders like us ordinary Singaporeans with no agenda, affiliation or angst, who have the moral and constitutional rights to demand and receive explanations when we see our Westminster-styled political system and parliamentary processes being rubbished and tarnished by political ‘actors’ (in more ways than one) in the escalating K(han) drama.
LAST night’s shocking revelations (sgpc.gov.sg) by the Committee of Privileges involving the repeated lies by then-Workers Party MP Raeesah Khan is a case in point. The Public must not be deceived or denied anymore. Statements have to be made and questions need to be asked. I will do the dishonours.
1. RAEESAH KHAN
She is unfit to be a politician, let alone an MP. Lied, lied again, and again, and now trying to drown everyone in her pool of deceit. In blaming her experienced political colleagues for wayward guidance after her Original Sin, she has forgotten that as a 28-year-old married adult and an economics graduate, you don’t blame others for deliberate decisions that you personally make – any more than Sengkang voters (blaming others) for electing her in the first place.
We live and learn with every single one of our life choices, for worse or for worst. We don’t cling to a Freudian excuse or fig leaf of ill advice from higher-ups to exonerate our own wrongdoings. So, Raeesah, for the sake of your two children, can you stop lying (and taking it) to your grave?
2. PRITAM SINGH AND COMPANY
The probable defence from the Opposition Leader over accusations that he forced her to lie is flat denial based on ‘he says, she says’ evidence. The Public would need to exercise patience here for Season 2 of this K-drama to unfold further.
But there can be no excuse meanwhile for:
a. NOT informing Parliament (or ensuring that Raeesah does so herself), at the earliest opportunity, i.e. after her confession to them in a private meeting on Aug 8 over her first lie of Aug 3. Failing to do so makes the party complicit. That he agreed she needed time and space to inform her family about the matter, and how she subsequently developed shingles, are no excuse for the delay. Pritam is no counsellor or doctor. He is a Leader of the Opposition. A simple note to the Speaker of the House would do.
b. NOT objecting to her second lie in Parliament on Oct 4 when all top three WP leaders were present at the same session can be deemed as collusion. Whether Raeesah chose to lie or confess at that sitting was her own business. That she had decided to ‘retain the (lie) narrative’ now shifts the decision making and morally obliges Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim or Faisal Manap (individually as MPs) to immediately stand up and alert the House of the material facts known to them, i.e. she had confessed her lie to them and was therefore lying again.
c. NOT recusing themselves from the internal Disciplinary Panel formed by the party to investigate her case. The three leaders formed the three-member DP in an ostensibly self-serving committee. Ownself check ownself? Worse, wouldn’t the DP be deemed a circus panel since its members have purportedly assured her that there would be no judgment against her but changed their mind with the overwhelming intention to sack her now unless she resigned?
3. THE POLICE AND/OR ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS
Even though prima facie, the findings of the distinguished Committee of Privileges that there was a possible obstruction, and pervasion of the course, of justice (the WP leadership telling her to lie and not to cooperate with the police) should compel the Police or the AGC to act.
They do not need a member of the PUBLIC to make a police report in order to re-act. As protectors of the country, they can do so within their framework of responsibilities if they want to. Isn’t there PUBLIC interest in it?
4. COMMITTEE OF PRIVILEGES (COP)
Is it procedural or obligatory (or shouldn’t it be higher wisdom?) that the Special Report including the full video recordings of the oral evidence be published on the Parliament website? As to be expected, opposition MP on the COP, Dennis Tan was outvoted 7-1 and the juicy details were all uploaded last night. Why such a rush? Shouldn’t the three Workers Party leaders be interviewed by the COP to give their side of the story if not as impartial witnesses, then at least as affected parties? By being quick on the draw, it might give the wrong impression that the COP was ready to fire at the opposition at will.
The fact that Cabinet Ministers K. Shanmugam and Indranee Rajah recused themselves from siting on the Committee was a clear intention by the PAP government to avoid being accused of politicizing the event. Alas, the rush to publish its Special Report (before Cinderella passed midnight) could, conversely, be seen as pre-empting the WP’s rebuttal or at the very least, damaging its reputation.
Under Standing Order 105 (2), “the Committee may, at any time during its proceedings (meaning, no rush), make a Special Report to Parliament on any matter which it may think fit to bring to the notice of Parliament.” The COP should explain and The Straits Times should educate the PUBLIC on the timing, and not so much the right, to publish.
Let’s rise above these sex, lies and video-recordings.