WP's Dennis Tan votes against report, calls for higher fine for Raeesah Khan's repeated lie

WP MP Dennis Tan voted against the final version of the report during the latest meeting of Parliament's Committee of Privileges on Feb 10, 2022. PHOTO: GOV.SG

SINGAPORE - The only Workers' Party (WP) member on a parliamentary committee investigating abuse of privilege by former Sengkang GRC MP Raeesah Khan disagreed with all the findings of the committee's report released on Thursday (Feb 10).

Hougang MP Dennis Tan voted against the final version of the report during the latest meeting of Parliament's Committee of Privileges on Tuesday.

He had also voted against releasing video recordings of hearings held in December and six previous special reports summarising the evidence given by various parties.

Mr Tan also sought a higher fine for Ms Khan than was recommended by the committee.

In its report, the committee found Ms Khan guilty of abuse of privilege after she lied to Parliament on several occasions, and recommended she be fined a total of $35,000.

The committee had recommended a $25,000 fine for the first two times Ms Khan lied on Aug 3, as she was the only person at the time who knew she had told an untruth and bore full responsibility for her actions.

It recommended a reduced fine of $10,000 for Ms Khan's repetition of the lie on Oct 4. By then, she had admitted the lie to three senior WP leaders - namely party chief Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap - and was acting under their guidance.

Mr Tan disagreed with this and called for a $15,000 fine for Ms Khan's repeated lie, as he was of the view that there were no mitigating factors for the fine to be lessened.

Mr Tan said it would be a "slippery slope to allow someone some form of leeway, as long as I go and tell my party leader about it", the report noted. MPs could then blame their leaders for a lack of response or a slow response, he added.

He also said it was not relevant whether or not Ms Khan was instructed by WP leaders to lie, as factoring this in would encourage young MPs to "run to a leader" to get advice in future and absolve themselves of responsibility.

Even if the WP leaders had told Ms Khan to lie, the onus should have been on Ms Khan to disagree with them and insist on coming clean, Mr Tan said.

On the conflicting evidence presented to the committee, Mr Tan said he preferred Mr Singh's testimony over Ms Khan's as he "could not believe" that Mr Singh "would come up with a plan to bring the statement to the grave".

Mr Tan also found it inconceivable that the senior WP leaders would think it was possible to cover up the lie as they would know that the police have resources to verify the truth, the report added.

In Mr Tan's view, Mr Singh's only fault in the incident was that he should have insisted that Ms Khan make preparations and admit the lie in Parliament sooner. Mr Tan said that having heard all the evidence, Mr Singh had not deliberately intended to conceal the lie.

Mr Tan also said he "did not quite agree" with the evidence given by WP cadre members Loh Pei Ying and Yudhishthra Nathan, as they were "too close" to Ms Khan.

He said he accepted and preferred Mr Singh's evidence over that of Ms Loh and Mr Nathan, though he was also not accusing them of lying.

See the full report released by the Committee of Privileges.

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