SINGAPORE - Since the work of Parliament's Committee of Privileges is still in progress, it is prudent for the Workers' Party to respond to the allegations against its leaders at an appropriate forum and juncture, said the WP on Sunday (Dec 5), in reference to the interim report released by the committee on Friday night.
It also reiterated that party chief and Leader of the Opposition, Mr Pritam Singh, had made it clear at the party's press conference on Dec 2 that he is prepared to give evidence before the committee.
Sunday's statement was the first time the WP had addressed the public since the Committee of Privileges released a report on Friday night (Dec 3).
The committee had been tasked to look into a complaint against former WP MP Raeesah Khan, who resigned from the party and as an MP for Sengkang GRC last Tuesday after admitting to having lied in Parliament.
The report stated that according to Ms Khan, Mr 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.
The party said it noted the release of the interim report by the committee "without having taken the evidence of Workers' Party leaders against whom serious allegations have been made".
It added: "Some members of the public have asked why Workers' Party leaders have not responded thus far to the interim report released by the Committee of Privileges. We understand that the committee's work remains in progress. It is thus prudent for a response to be given at the appropriate forum and juncture."
It also expressed gratitude to those who had conveyed messages of encouragement to the party, including residents of Aljunied GRC, Hougang SMC and Sengkang GRC, party members, volunteers, and members of the public.
Friday's special report was published on Parliament's website, alongside footage of the committee's hearings over the past two days.
Some of the report's statements were contrary to what the party had said at a press conference on Thursday, when Mr Singh said he had directed Ms Khan to take responsibility and admit to her lie in Parliament, and that she had contradicted this order.
In her evidence to the committee, Ms Khan said that on Oct 3, a day before the Oct 4 Parliament sitting, Mr Singh had visited her at her home and said that if she kept to her narrative on the untruths which she had said on Aug 3, there would be no judgment by him.
Ms Khan and her former assistant Loh Pei Ying gave evidence to the committee on Thursday and Friday, while a volunteer, Mr Yudhishthra Nathan, did so on Friday. Ms Khan's former legislative assistant Lim Hang Ling testified on Thursday.
WP members had expressed divided views on the culpability of WP leaders in the saga.
On Saturday, WP members, typically reticent and wary of openly criticising the party, joined former Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh in expressing disappointment with party leaders.
Associate Professor Goh had been openly critical of how the party's leaders had handled the matter, earning him a public rebuke from Mr Singh at the press conference.
But other party members and volunteers had also questioned the credibility of Ms Khan, who they pointed out had lied several times in Parliament.
Besides, the party's leaders had not yet given their testimony at the committee's hearings, they said.