WP MP Raeesah apologises for social media posts, pledges to be considerate in framing difficult conversations

Ms Raeesah Khan speaking to members of the media on July 6, 2020, after police reports were made against her. Ms Raeesah said that her intention was "never to cause social unrest or division". PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party (WP) MP Raeesah Khan, who was given a stern warning by the police for her social media posts that promoted enmity among different groups and committed contempt by scandalising the court, has apologised for her remarks.

In a Facebook post on Thursday (Sept 17), Ms Raeesah said her intention was "never to cause social unrest or division".

"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," added the 26-year-old, who is part of the four-member WP team that won Sengkang GRC in the July 10 general election. The team received 52.1 per cent of the vote.

Ms Raeesah also said she hopes to contribute to positive change in Singapore, and has met people from all walks of life in her role as an MP in the past few months.

"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 added.

She also thanked the public for their support and understanding while police investigations were going on.

Her social media posts that the police investigated were put up on Feb 2, 2018, and May 17, 2020.

On May 17, she posted about an incident in Robertson Quay that involved seven foreigners who were caught on camera ignoring safe distancing rules during the circuit breaker period.

She 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.

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

Another post, in 2018, was made in the context of the City Harvest Church ruling.

Ms Raeesah had posted: "Singapore jails minorities mercilessly, harasses mosque leaders but lets corrupt church leaders who stole $50 million walk free. Who did they pay?"

Separately, a man who put up offensive Facebook posts under the moniker "Abdul Malik Mohammed Ghazali" was also given a stern warning by the police on Thursday (Sept 17) for harassment and posting comments on social media with a deliberate intent to wound religious or racial feelings.

The posts were made on July 5 and Feb 8 this year.

Abdul Malik, whose real name was not given in the police media statement, said in the July 5 Facebook post that he was "one of the first to leak out and (make) viral screenshots" of Ms Raeesah's social media accounts.

He added:"Who cares about your father? SMCCI very big meh? Best for you to step down Raeesah, or he'll be next." Ms Raeesah's father, Mr Farid Khan, is president of the Singapore Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He launched a bid to take part in the presidential election in 2017 but was deemed ineligible.

The police said the man committed an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act for the July 5 post.

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