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GE2020: PAP calls on WP to make clear stand on Raeesah Khan’s social media posts

SINGAPORE — The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Monday (July 6) called on the Workers’ Party (WP) to state its stand on social media posts made by its candidate Raeesah Khan that are the subject of police investigations.

Ms Raeesah Khan (centre) had on Sunday apologised for the posts, saying that it was never her intention to cause any social division but to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.

Ms Raeesah Khan (centre) had on Sunday apologised for the posts, saying that it was never her intention to cause any social division but to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.

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SINGAPORE — The People’s Action Party (PAP) on Monday (July 6) called on the Workers’ Party (WP) to state its stand on social media posts made by its candidate Raeesah Khan that are the subject of police investigations.

In a statement, the PAP noted that Ms Raeesah, 26, is being investigated for criminal offences, including an offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race. It also noted that WP chief Mr Pritam Singh had said on Sunday that she would continue with her campaign in Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) and that the party would review the matter after the July 10 General Election.

“In fairness to voters, both in Sengkang and elsewhere, the WP should state its stand on Ms Raeesah’s posts, since she has admitted to making highly derogatory statements about Chinese and Christians,” the PAP said. 

“Why does the WP still consider her worthy of consideration as an MP? This is a serious matter, which goes to the fundamental principles on which our country has been built.”

In a statement on Sunday, the police had said that she allegedly commented that Singapore's law enforcement authorities discriminated against citizens, and that compared to other groups, rich Chinese and white people were treated differently under the law. 

The police also said that in the context of a news article on the City Harvest Church ruling, Ms Raeesah allegedly said that Singapore jailed minorities mercilessly, harassed mosque leaders, but let corrupt church leaders who stole S$50 million walk free, and questioned who had been paid.

Six City Harvest Church leaders were found guilty of various charges of criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts in October 2015.

Ms Raeesah’s posts were made in February 2018 and May this year and have resurfaced during the hustings.

In its statement on Monday, the PAP said the WP should ask Ms Raeesah to make public her other posts which were previously public and review them in the interest of transparency. 

“This will allow voters to make a clear assessment of her views, and her suitability to be elected into Parliament,” it added.

“The WP should not ask voters to write it a blank cheque in Sengkang or anywhere else it contests.”

Ms Raeesah had on Sunday apologised for the posts, hours after the police press statement on the investigation was released, saying that it was never her intention to cause any social division but to raise awareness about the concerns of minorities.

“I apologise to any racial group or community who have been hurt by my comments,” said Ms Raeesah, reading out a prepared statement with party leaders Singh and Sylvia Lim, as well as her Sengkang GRC teammates, standing beside her.

“My remarks were insensitive and I regret making them.”

Addressing the media on Sunday evening, Mr Singh said he was not aware of the two posts, adding that he does not encourage and would be “a bit disappointed” if WP candidates tried to sanitise their past.

“I think they should be upfront and authentic to the public,” he added, noting that Ms Raeesah is the youngest WP candidate in the election and is part of a generation that has grown up on social media.

“And in the event there are certain posts or certain comments that they may have made which are untoward, then I would expect them to explain themselves.”

Ms Raeesah is contesting the newly-formed Sengkang GRC with Dr Jamus Lim, 44; Ms He Ting Ru, 37; and Mr Louis Chua, 33. They are up against a PAP team led by labour chief Ng Chee Meng, 51; alongside Dr Lam Pin Min, 50; Mr Amrin Amin, 42; and Mr Raymond Lye, 54.

Asked for his comments on the issue during a walkabout at a coffeeshop at 303 Anchorvale Link on Monday afternoon, Dr Lam said that as the case is before the police, he does not want to "pre-judge anything".

"We will let the police investigate," he added.

On his team's chances in the newly formed GRC, he said that he does not want to speculate, but he added that the PAP team has been working hard on the ground.

"We understand that Sengkang is a hotly contested GRC and we will not take our voters' support for granted," he said. 

"We know that every single vote counts. And that is why we want to work very hard to win every single vote."

Police investigations are ongoing in Ms Raeesah's case. Those found guilty of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code could be jailed up to three years, fined, or punished with both.

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SGVotes2020 Singapore General Election PAP Raeesah Khan Workers' Party

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