WP CEC voted to expel Raeesah Khan over Parliament lie without full facts: Committee report

Former Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan speaking in Parliament on Nov 1, when she admitted to lying about details of a sexual assault case. PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Workers' Party voted in favour of former Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan's expulsion - if she did not resign - without knowledge of the full facts about her lies to Parliament, the Committee of Privileges said in a second special report released on Saturday (Dec 11) night.

This included that Ms Khan had told party chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap on Aug 8 of her lie in Parliament on Aug 3.

The Workers' Party (WP) CEC made this decision on Nov 30 after an internal disciplinary panel (DP) convened by the party recommended it do so, having invited WP members to give their views on the matter before the DP.

But at no point did the DP inform the CEC of panel members' knowledge or involvement in Ms Khan's lies to Parliament, or disclose those facts to WP members, the Committee of Privileges said on Saturday.

The DP consists solely of the three senior party leaders, who had known in August about Ms Khan’s lie in Parliament. It was formed by the WP on Nov 2, a day after Ms Khan admitted in Parliament to lying about the details of a sexual assault case that she alleged was mishandled by the police.

Instead, Mr Faisal told the committee it was "not relevant" that the DP’s earlier knowledge of Ms Khan’s lie be made known to WP members, or to the CEC, when the DP made its recommendations to them.

"I do not find it relevant to bring it up to the discussion because that's not the role of the DP," he said.

Mr Faisal said the DP's recommendations were to be based on only what it had been told, and based on information it had gathered between Nov 8 and Nov 29 - the dates when the DP had first sat to receive evidence and when it had concluded hearing evidence.

After the DP was formed, there was no discussion between Mr Faisal and Ms Lim or Mr Singh whether their knowledge of what Ms Khan had told them should be part of the DP's report, said Mr Faisal.

None of the CEC members outside of those on the DP knew that Ms Khan had confessed to the three party leaders on Aug 8 about her lie, said Mr Faisal. This continued to be the case when the CEC met on Nov 30 to deliberate on the disciplinary panel's recommendations in respect of the actions to be taken against Ms Khan, it said.

Asked by National Development Minister Desmond Lee if the WP CEC only knew that Ms Khan had confessed her lie to senior WP leaders in August when the WP held a press conference on Dec 2, Mr Faisal said yes.

The DP had earlier asked WP members to come forward and give their views to party leaders on Ms Khan's actions.

Mr Faisal agreed that WP members who came forward to share their views would not have been able to give an informed view, if they did not know that Ms Khan had confessed to the three leaders on Aug 8, said the Committee of Privileges report.

Pressed repeatedly by Culture, Community and Youth Minister Edwin Tong if it was important for WP members to have been told the full facts - that Ms Khan had told senior party leadership back in August about her lie - so they could provide honest and unbiased opinions about the issue, Mr Faisal said: "Logically, yes. Fairness, yes. Need to uphold the fairness."

The special report said Mr Faisal "agreed that it would only be fair to Ms Khan and the integrity of the whole disciplinary process, for these members to know that Ms Khan had gone to the party leadership on Aug 8 and explained the matter fully, openly and transparently".

"The CEC voted in favour of Ms Khan's expulsion without knowledge of the full facts."

Mr Faisal agreed with the Committee of Privileges that it was wrong to allow a lie to carry on in Parliament, and that Mr Singh, Ms Lim and himself could be investigated as well, in this respect.

He also agreed that in general, a person could not make a recommendation on a matter that he himself had an interest in, but "in this context, I do not have any personal interest".

He said he did not feel that he was in a position of conflict of interest sitting on the DP.

The Committee of Privileges is investigating a complaint against Ms Khan, who subsequently resigned from the WP and her role as Sengkang GRC MP last month.

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