I had prevented myself from commenting about the hearing at the Committee of Privileges as it was, like the Honorable Leader of the Opposition said, to be finally resolved within the Parliament.
However, as the various people presented their evidence to the committee, the whole episode surrounding Raeesah Khan’s lie has evolved into a Taiwanese drama.
An apt description, really: it’s 30 hours long, with a protagonist that started full of promise, key characters from the WP constantly pulling smoke and mirrors, creating distractions, and a story line riddled with convoluted twists and turns.
And true to the soap opera trope, the various distractions by the WP have made it difficult for Singaporeans to follow the main story.
Quick Recap: A severe allegation was made in Parliament about the Singapore Police Force’ treatment of victims of sexual assault. The allegation was subsequently found to be fabricated, after various opportunities to rescind the statement were wasted, and resources spent by the Police to validate that episode.
As recorded in the Notes of Evidence of the Committee, the Workers Party must agree that nobody from the senior leadership told Raeesah Khan — in clear, explicit terms — that she had to tell the truth.
Raeesah Khan, in her evidence, said she sought guidance from her senior party leaders – Pritam Singh, Faisal Manap and Sylvia Lim. Faisal Manap and Sylvia Lim said they didn’t do anything nor felt the need to do anything and left it all to their leader Pritam Singh, in whom they had absolute trust.
But, Pritam said that he left it to Raeesah Khan to clear things up, telling her that it’s “your call” to tell the truth and “I won’t judge you.” Talk about taking on Command Responsibility, yah?
And Raeesah Khan waited for her leaders to lead. There was none.
Who caused this fiasco? The Workers’ Party.
Could they have stopped this from the onset, as early as August? Yes, but they did not.
Should they be more cooperative with the Committee of Privileges? The onus was on them to do so, but instead, they have tried to twist and turn and wasted hours. The Senior Leaders of WP – Pritam Singh, Sylvia Lim and Faisal Manap – refused to submit the documentary evidence until being compelled by the committee to do so.
Should the Workers’ Party apologise? Evidently, yes, but they did not throughout this entire episode.
This is the Workers’ Party way of distracting the public from their failings, playing the victim, and engaging in showmanship.
Case in point – Edwin Tong had to painstakingly repeat the question, using different methods and techniques, to get Pritam’s agreement on how an ordinary person would take “your call” and how Raeesah could have misconstrued what he expected her to do. Which could have easily been avoided if he had just told her, “Tell the truth”.
And yet, all those hours of painful — though necessary — questioning has been shoved aside in favour of meaningless distraction. Mic-drop, quick comebacks from Pritam that played to the gallery, which WP stans and simps have amplified on social media. In which you don’t hear one plausible comeback as to why the WP leadership had not reined the situation in as soon as she had told them that she had lied (and worse, why they felt it was not on them to do so). A cloud of smoke and mirror — performative in nature, but without any substance/argument.
There would not have been a Taiwanese drama if Raeesah Khan had not casually inserted a lie in a speech to Parliament, the purpose of which is still not clear to date.
There would be no plot to speak of if Pritam Singh had just made it crystal to her that she had to correct her lie regardless of whether she would be questioned about it (instead of doubling down on the lie).
It would not be 30 hours long if, from the get-go, the Workers’ Party conducted itself with enough integrity. Edwin Tong and his colleagues would not have to spend hours trying to get their story straight.
This is one Taiwanese drama perpetuated by the Workers’ Party.
To distract and confuse the public and gain political mileage from this very mess they have created.
This is the new Workers’ Party.
— None with a working conscience.
— None with a sense of responsibility.
— None a leader.
What do you think?
– By Terence Lau