Workers' Party MP Raeesah Khan given stern warning over posts

Raeesah Khan apologises online, saying it wasn't her intention to cause social unrest or division

Police reports were lodged on July 4 and July 5 over Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan's social media posts.
Police reports were lodged on July 4 and July 5 over Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan's social media posts.PHOTO: ST FILE

Workers' Party (WP) MP Raeesah Khan has been given a stern warning for her comments on social media that promoted enmity among different groups and committed contempt by scandalising the court, the police said yesterday.

The decision was made in con-sultation with the Attorney-General's Chambers, the police statement added.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Ms Raeesah, who is an MP for Sengkang GRC, apologised, and said her intention was "never to cause social unrest or division".

She wrote: "I have spent most of my youth and adult life advocating, campaigning and organising for minority causes, such as working with families torn apart by incarceration, people with disabilities and women who have gone through sexual assault.

"In my passion, I have said things in a manner that may have caused hurt to certain communities. I apologise for this."

Ms Raeesah, 26, was part of the four-member WP team that won Sengkang GRC in the July 10 General Election with 52.1 per cent of the vote.

The police warning brings to an end the investigation that opened after police reports were lodged against Ms Raeesah on July 4 and 5 during the election campaign.

The reports were linked to two social media posts she had put up on Feb 2, 2018, and May 17 this year.

Her May 17 post was about an incident in Robertson Quay involving seven foreigners who were caught on camera ignoring safe distancing rules during the circuit breaker period.

In her post, Ms Raeesah had said: "Do you see police officers here? Imagine if this was a neighbourhood hawker centre. There would be policemen swarming the area and enforcing the law within minutes.

"Why is the law different for these people? Is it because they are rich Chinese or white people? Do you think expats will be treated with the same disdain as migrant workers who broke the law?"

Ms Raeesah made another post in 2018, in the context of the City Harvest Church ruling. In that post, she said: "Singapore jails minorities mercilessly, harasses mosque leaders but lets corrupt church leaders who stole $50 million walk free. Who did they pay?"

At a press conference on July 5 - after it emerged that two police reports had been made against her - Ms Raeesah said she regretted making "insensitive" and "improper" remarks, and apologised to those who may have been hurt by them.

 
 
 

She also said she did not mean to cause social division when she made the remarks, but had instead wanted to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.

In her Facebook post yesterday, Ms Raeesah said she will continue to learn and hopes to contribute to positive change in Singapore.

In her new role as an MP, she has met people from all walks of life, and has had humbling and insightful conversations with residents, she added.

She also said that these conversations have given her an understanding of how everyone has an important role to play in creating a Singapore that is equitable, just and compassionate.

APOLOGY

I have spent most of my youth and adult life advocating, campaigning and organising for minority causes, such as working with families torn apart by incarceration, people with disabilities and women who have gone through sexual assault. In my passion, I have said things in a manner that may have caused hurt to certain communities. I apologise for this.

MS RAEESAH KHAN, an MP for Sengkang GRC, in a Facebook post yesterday.

Ms Raeesah said: "From these interactions, I have also learnt that as a leader, I have the power to start difficult conversations, and that it is vital to frame these conversations in a considerate and accountable manner.

"As an MP, I hope to use the appropriate platforms to speak out on matters concerning my constituents."

She also thanked the public for their support and understanding while the police investigations were going on. "I am very grateful for it. I will do my best to pay it forward, and continue to use my voice in Parliament to speak frankly and responsibly on important issues."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2020, with the headline 'Workers' Party MP given stern warning over posts'. Print Edition | Subscribe