Special report on Raeesah Khan released to keep Parliament informed, says Office of Clerk of Parliament

Former WP MP Raeesah Khan at the Committee of Privileges hearing on Dec 2, 2021. PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Committee of Privileges decided to present its special report in its investigations of the complaint against former Workers' Party MP Raeesah Khan last Friday (Dec 3) based on the oral evidence it heard on Thursday and Friday, said the Office of the Clerk of Parliament on Monday (Dec 6).

Responding to queries over the committee's decision to release the special report before it called WP leaders for their testimonies, the Clerk's Office said the committee will keep Parliament informed of the progress of its investigations "in a timely manner when appropriate" and present its final report in due course. It did not elaborate further.

The Clerk's Office cited Standing Order 105 (2), which states that the committee may, at any time during its proceedings, make a special report to Parliament on any matter that it may think fit to bring to the notice of Parliament.

It added that special reports had been issued in the past.

The Committee of Privileges is looking into a complaint against Ms Khan, who had admitted to lying in Parliament and resigned last Tuesday from the party and her position as Sengkang GRC MP.

The Straits Times had asked Parliament why it decided to release the special report and for details on further witnesses and hearings, among other questions.

The Clerk's Office said meetings of select committees are held in private unless resolved otherwise, and details regarding meetings or hearings as well as potential witnesses "will therefore remain fluid".

It added that the committee's mandate is to thoroughly look into any matter pertaining to the complaint, and will be reviewing the evidence and submissions put before it on an ongoing basis.

The Clerk's Office also said the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act regulates the conduct of MPs and other persons in connection with its proceedings, and can summon any person to appear before the committee to give evidence at any time before the conclusion of its report.

The committee will continue its investigations into the complaint and will hear further evidence if it sees fit, it added.

Last Friday's report had said the committee was adjourned to Monday.

The report contained several revelations, such as Ms Khan's statement that WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap had told her to stick to the lie she had told in Parliament on Aug 3.

This contrasted with the WP's press conference last Thursday, when Mr Singh said he had directed Ms Khan to take responsibility and admit to her lie in Parliament.

In a speech on Aug 3, Ms Khan said she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape victim to a police station to make a report, and that the officer who interviewed the victim had made inappropriate comments about the victim's dressing and the fact that she had been drinking.

But Ms Khan never accompanied the victim to a police station.

She later admitted that the victim had shared the account in a support group for women, which Ms Khan herself was in, and said she did not have the victim's consent to share the story.

On Sunday, WP said that since the work of Parliament's Committee of Privileges is still in progress, it is prudent for the party to respond to the allegations against its leaders at an appropriate forum and juncture.

It also reiterated that Mr Singh had made it clear at the party's press conference on Dec 2 that he is prepared to give evidence before the committee.

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