SINGAPORE - While Workers' Party vice-chairman Faisal Manap knew allowing lies by Ms Raeesah Khan to go unaddressed in Parliament was a potential offence, he did not take action, as he felt it was a matter best left to party chief Pritam Singh.
The Committee of Privileges looking into Ms Khan's case said this in a second special report that it released on Saturday (Dec 11) night. It had released an earlier report of its investigation on Dec 3.
"Mr Faisal agreed that allowing a lie to perpetuate in Parliament was possibly an offence, and that could affect him, Mr Singh and (WP chairman Sylvia Lim) personally," said the committee, adding that as an MP, he also had a duty to ensure no untruth remained on record in Parliament.
But while Mr Faisal agreed it was important to clarify the lie Ms Khan told in Parliament on Aug 3 as soon as possible, to his mind, this was a matter for Mr Singh - who is Leader of the Opposition - to deal with, and the timing of when to have Ms Khan correct the record in Parliament would depend on Mr Singh's judgment, the committee said.
Mr Faisal had found out about Ms Khan's first lie on Aug 8, when he met her along with Mr Singh and Ms Lim.
The committee said Mr Faisal was very sure no draft statement or media post was prepared to clarify Ms Khan's untruth when Parliament sat in September. He did not pursue the matter with Mr Singh, Ms Lim or Ms Khan.
He had not expected the lie Ms Khan told about accompanying a rape victim to the police station to arise during the Oct 4 Parliament sitting, the report said.
Mr Faisal learnt about the exchange between Ms Khan and Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam - where she had repeated her lie - later that day, when he saw a media report about it on his mobile phone.
The committee said that Mr Faisal was "shocked and worried" when he learnt of this, and that he had appreciated that this was a serious problem for Ms Khan and the WP, given how she had lied twice in Parliament.
He was concerned that by that point, the party had to do something about the issue, noted the committee in its report.
"Mr Faisal did not check with Ms Lim, Mr Singh or any other CEC (central executive committee) member on what to do about Ms Khan's further falsehoods. This was because he trusted Mr Singh to resolve the issue. He also believed Ms Khan would do the right thing."
The committee said Mr Faisal accepted it would have been logical for him to have checked with Mr Singh about Ms Khan's repeated lies.
"But he explained that he did not because he trusted Mr Singh and that was also the type of person he was - he did not go by mere logic," said the report.
He had also agreed with the committee that Ms Khan's conduct in Parliament on Oct 4 was consistent with her account of what he, Ms Lim and Mr Singh had told her to do on Aug 8, which was to continue with her narrative and lie, if that account was true.
"The fact that there was no discussion at all between the WP MPs about Ms Khan's lie on Oct 4, or on the clarification of that lie, was consistent with Ms Khan's account of what happened on Aug 8, if it was true," said the report.
In its earlier report, the committee said that Ms Khan was told by WP leaders on Aug 8 that the best thing for her to do would be to keep to the lie she had made in Parliament on Aug 3.
The second report said Mr Faisal had sent Ms Khan a text message on Oct 5 to comfort and encourage her. It also said he agreed with the committee that he could have asked her then about clarifying her lies, given how they were in direct communication, but he did not do so.
"He agreed that his behaviour did not make sense nor were they logically acceptable. He admitted that it was illogical that even after Ms Khan had repeated the untruth on Oct 4, he (Mr Faisal) had not raised it with Ms Khan, when Mr Faisal met Ms Khan three days later, on Oct 7," said the report.
"He said that he did not raise the matter with Ms Khan about her untruth, because she neither raised the issue nor sought his guidance on it."
The report also said that on Oct 7, Ms Khan had sent to WP leaders a request she received from the police asking her for assistance, and that Mr Faisal agreed the request to Ms Khan was a fair one.
"Ms Khan told them about the police request, and informed them that she would consult a lawyer. Mr Faisal did not reply to Ms Khan. To his knowledge, neither did Ms Lim or Mr Singh," said the report.