WP leaders issued summons after failing to produce documents requested by privileges committee

(Clockwise from left) WP chief Pritam Singh, chair Sylvia Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap have failed or refused to provide documents relevant to issues raised in its investigation, the committee noted. PHOTOS: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The Workers' Party's top leaders have each been issued a summons to provide documents requested by the Committee of Privileges, which they have thus far failed to produce.

On Wednesday (Dec 15), the committee said it had, on various occasions between Dec 10 and 14, asked Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh, chair Sylvia Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap to produce documents such as internal correspondence among party senior leadership that is relevant to issues raised in its investigation.

However, they have failed or refused to provide the documents, the committee noted in its fifth special report, which contained a summary of evidence from Mr Singh who on Wednesday testified for a second time to clarify points in Ms Lim's testimony on Monday.

The report said the committee will consider the responses from Mr Singh, Ms Lim and Mr Faisal to the summons when it next meets on Monday (Dec 20).

At the end of Wednesday's session, Speaker of Parliament and committee chair Tan Chuan-Jin said parliamentary clerks would ask Mr Singh to provide details that the committee feels "would be relevant for our consideration".

These include correspondence among party leadership during the disciplinary panel, the inputs given, as well as details related to the WP press conference on Dec 2, Mr Tan said, adding that these could help the committee with understanding the issues at hand.

The committee has largely concluded its proceedings, aside from a few outstanding matters to be addressed, the report said.

It will hear further evidence if it sees fit, and present its findings and recommendations to Parliament in due course.

The issue of documents had also come up during Mr Faisal's hearing last Thursday, when he was asked about a note he had prepared on the sequence of events pertaining to former WP MP Raeesah Khan's telling of falsehoods in Parliament.

When asked if he had discussed the contents of the note with anyone, he said he had met Mr Singh and Ms Lim in the two days before his hearing, on Tuesday and Wednesday, for two to three hours each time.

He said Mr Singh and Ms Lim had brought documents to the meetings, but refused to answer questions about what those documents were and whether he knew what they were.

Under the Parliament (Privileges, Immunities and Powers) Act, it is an offence to refuse to answer any question put forth by a parliamentary committee or not produce any document required.

MPs found to be in contempt of Parliament, to have abused their privilege or displayed dishonourable conduct, could be reprimanded by the Speaker, fined up to $50,000, suspended for the remainder of the current term or jailed.

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

Ms Khan said in a speech on Aug 3 that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to a police station, but that the victim later came out crying after being asked by the police about her dressing and whether she had been drinking.

She has since confessed to lying about the case and admitted that she had not accompanied the victim to the police station.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.