SINGAPORE - Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan has to take responsibility for her "grave transgression" of lying multiple times in Parliament, but that does not mean she should resign, said former Workers' Party (WP) Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh.
Resigning from her post as MP would be "too easy" and would mean walking away from that responsibility, Associate Professor Goh said in a Facebook post on Wednesday (Nov 3).
"I believe she should serve out her elected term going 100 per cent into serving communities, families and individuals quietly, no social media posting or posturing, so that the focus is on those she served and not herself," he added.
Ms Raeesah had on Monday admitted to lying in Parliament about a sexual assault case that she alleged was mishandled by the police.
She has been referred to Parliament's Committee of Privileges for breach of parliamentary privilege, and there have been calls from some quarters for her to step down.
Asking Ms Raeesah to resign simply because she is seen as a political liability who would cause the WP to lose votes would be a move that comes from the same political expediency of chasing votes that gave rise to her transgression, Prof Goh said.
"We can do better as a public and a society demanding accountability from our political leaders. It is not about the votes."
Prof Goh, who was previously a member of the WP's top decision-making body, or central executive committee, and remains a party cadre, also called on party leaders not to "throw (Ms Raeesah) under the bus".
The WP has convened a disciplinary panel consisting of secretary-general Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap to investigate the incident.
Prof Goh said the WP's leadership must also take some responsibility for allowing Ms Raeesah's mistakes to happen and persist over several months since she first lied in Parliament on Aug 3 that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to the police station.
"The statement was not made on impulse. In my experience, speeches were shared and reviewed among MPs and we might disagree and debate, but we would make corrections or drop things entirely according to the collective consensus. If a mistake was made, we would immediately move to rectify it," he noted.
"I hope the disciplinary panel made up of the top three leaders will recognise their responsibility in this matter and accountability to the public on this matter."
Prof Goh said the incident affected him badly and had shaken his trust in the party.
"I can't believe that a WP MP blatantly lied multiple times in Parliament. It is not simply an account with untruths," he wrote.
"It is far more serious and damaging, not just for the credibility of the party, but to the evolution of our political system for the good of Singapore and to the very issue of the motion she spoke in support of: the empowerment of women."
Prof Goh said he had spoken on the issue in Parliament several times during his term of office and holds it close to his heart.
"I was incredibly proud of WP for raising and pushing for the motion. Don't let Raeesah's transgression taint this important issue, please."