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GE2020: WP’s Raeesah Khan apologises for social media posts under police investigation

SINGAPORE — The Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Raeesah Khan on Sunday (July 5) apologised for two social media posts that are the subject of a police investigation for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race.

Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan speaking to the media at night on July 5, 2020.

Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan speaking to the media at night on July 5, 2020.

  • Ms Raeesah Khan, Sengkang GRC candidate for WP, said that she regrets her insensitive remarks
  • WP chief Pritam Singh said that she will continue with election campaign
  • Mr Singh added that he has “no regrets” about fielding Ms Raeesah
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SINGAPORE — The Workers’ Party (WP) candidate Raeesah Khan on Sunday (July 5) apologised for two social media posts that are the subject of a police investigation for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race.

Ms Raeesah, 26, a WP candidate for the Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC), said 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 Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim, as well as her Sengkang GRC teammates, standing beside her.

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

Mr Singh addressed the media with Ms Raeesah on Sunday evening, hours after a police press statement on the investigation was released.

Adding that he was not aware of the two posts, Mr Singh said 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.”

He said that Ms Raeesah would continue with the election campaign and that the party would review the incident after the campaign.

On how WP vets its candidates, Mr Singh said that an important consideration was whether candidates could empathise with the public and represent voters’ interests.

Ms Raeesah, who has been on the ground for about a year, takes every case at meet-the-people sessions seriously, regardless of race and religion, he said.

“She is very vested in what the issue is that the resident is facing and what help that person needs,” he added.

“Those are very important criteria for me personally to consider someone for candidature, whether you are able to put yourself and walk a mile in the shoes of someone who needs help.”

Mr Singh added: “I have no regrets fielding a candidate who is like that, who is prepared to walk with residents and solve their problems and issues, and I think that is an important criterion, which resulted in Raeesah being selected as a candidate.”

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Ms Raeesah is contesting Sengkang GRC with Dr Jamus Lim, 44, Ms He Ting Ru, 37, and Mr Louis Chua, 33.

Her apology came hours after the police said that two police reports had been made against her in relation to comments that she allegedly made on social media.

The posts, which were made in February 2018 and May this year, have resurfaced during the hustings.

She allegedly said that Singapore's law enforcement authorities had discriminated against citizens, and that compared with 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.

The police said that they consulted the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which advised that Ms Raeesah could be liable for an offence of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race under Section 298A of the Penal Code. Those found guilty of such an offence could be jailed up to three years, fined, or punished with both.

Police investigations are continuing.

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SGVotes2020 Sengkang GRC Raeesah Khan social media Singapore General Election

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