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Raeesah Khan given all clear by psychiatrist, testifies WP leaders were 'out of line' discrediting her with mental illness

SINGAPORE — A psychiatrist has assessed that former Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan “did not suffer from any significant psychiatric disorder” that would impair her ability to speak truthfully, while she testified that it was “extremely out of of line” for Workers’ Party (WP) leaders Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim to use mental illness as a means to discredit her.

Raeesah Khan given all clear by psychiatrist, testifies WP leaders were 'out of line' discrediting her with mental illness

Former Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan at a Committee of Privileges hearing on Dec 22, 2021.

  • The COP released its sixth special report on its investigations into a lie told by former MP Raeesah Khan in Parliament on Dec 22
  • The report summarises testimonies provided by a psychiatrist and Ms Raeesah
  • The psychiatrist assessed that Ms Raeesah did not suffer from any significant psychiatric disorder that would predispose her to telling untruths
  • According to the report, Ms Raeesah told the committee that it was “extremely out of line” for WP leaders to use mental illness to discredit her

SINGAPORE — A psychiatrist has assessed that former Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan “did not suffer from any significant psychiatric disorder” that would impair her ability to speak truthfully, while she testified that it was “extremely out of of line” for Workers’ Party (WP) leaders Pritam Singh and Sylvia Lim to use mental illness as a means to discredit her.

This was recorded in a special report by Parliament's Committee of Privileges on Wednesday (Dec 22).

It is the sixth such report to be released by the committee and summarises the testimonies provided on Wednesday by Ms Raeesah and Dr Christopher Cheok, the acting chief and senior consultant from the department of forensic psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health.

Dr Cheok was invited to testify before the committee as a medical expert after a suggestion was made by Mr Singh, WP's chief, who told the committee previously to undertake a psychiatric evaluation of Ms Raeesah.

She had allegedly told Mr Singh that she suffers from dissociation, where she speaks without thinking. 

Dr Cheok told the committee that he had assessed Ms Raeesah twice this month and interviewed her husband. He also reviewed relevant recordings of Ms Raeesah speaking in Parliament as well as her earlier testimonies before the committee.

The psychiatrist assessed that from Aug 3 to Dec 3 this year, Ms Raeesah “did not suffer from any significant psychiatric disorder that would have impaired her ability to speak truthfully in Parliament (on Aug 3, Oct 4 and Nov 1) or before the Committee of Privileges (on Dec 2 and Dec 3)”, the report stated.

“In his assessment, on the various occasions in Parliament and before the committee, Ms Khan was of sound mind, and was mentally fit and present to make the statements that she did. What she said was done out of her own will and she knew what she was doing,” the committee noted in its report.

Specific to Ms Raeesah’s mental state on Aug 3 when she first made a false claim in Parliament during a speech, Dr Cheok said that it was not done impulsively or as a result of dissociation or any other psychiatric disorder.

Dr Cheok also told the committee that she did not suffer from any psychiatric disorder that would predispose her to telling untruths.

She does not suffer from any significant or material dissociation during this period as well, he added.

The committee is now in the midst of investigating a false statement made in Parliament on Aug 3 by Ms Raeesah, where she claimed that a sexual assault victim was treated insensitively at a police station when she accompanied the victim there.  

She later admitted in Parliament on Nov 1 that she had lied and that she was not present at the station. She merely recounted the incident based on what someone said at a women's support group she attended meant for sexual assault survivors.

She resigned from WP and as an MP last month.

In its report on Wednesday, the committee also said that WP party leaders, Mr Singh, Ms Lim and vice-chair Faisal Manap, were summoned to appear before the committee on Monday and to produce documents relating to the proceedings. 

The report did not specify what the content of these documents were.

On Dec 15, the committee stated that it had issued summons to the trio on the same day because they did not produce documents such as those on "internal correspondence between senior leadership concerning issues raised in the committee" as requested on various occasions from Dec 10 to 14. 

‘EXTREMELY OUT OF LINE’

In the committee's latest report, Ms Raeesah told the panel on Wednesday that it was “extremely out of line” for WP party leaders to use mental illness as a means to discredit her.

The report noted that in the course of their testimony before the committee, Mr Singh and Ms Lim had claimed that Ms Khan was suffering from a mental condition, which could have affected her ability to tell the truth at the hearings.

However, Ms Raeesah told the committee on Wednesday that Mr Singh had tried to paint a picture of her as someone who was mentally unstable even though she was of sound mind.

“Ms Khan said that mental health issues had to be approached with sensitivity, in today’s context,” the report said. 

“She expressed concern that using a person’s mental health to discredit them (as Mr Singh and Ms Lim had done) would set back the movement to progress mental health awareness and support. Attributing such labels on people would discourage them from seeking help, when they needed it.” 

WHAT SHE SAYS IN RESPONSE

The report also summarised Ms Raeesah’s accounts and responses to what WP leaders had testified during their hearings.

1. On the Aug 8 meeting between Ms Raeesah and WP leaders

Ms Raeesah disagreed with testimonies provided by Mr Singh, Ms Lim and Mr Faisal, where they said that there had been no discussion during her meeting with them on Aug 8 on whether or how to correct her lie in Parliament.

“She said that their evidence was untrue. She also disagreed completely with the accusation Mr Singh had made against her of lying,” the committee said.

She reiterated her claim from her first testimony to the committee that Mr Singh had told her to take her lie in Parliament “to the grave”.

In her testimony on Wednesday, Ms Raeesah said that this was not a phrase she would ordinarily use and that it originated from Mr Singh during the meeting. He also said this in front of Ms Lim and Mr Faisal, she added.

Ms Raeesah said that there was no discussion during the meeting on whether she should disclose her own sexual assault to her father and family, contrary to Mr Singh’s claims.

At the meeting, her ability to discuss with the three WP leaders about the clarifications to make on the separate topics of female genital cutting and polygamy, which she had raised in her parliamentary speech on Aug 3, also showed that she was of sound mind since she was able to discuss the statement at length, Ms Raeesah said.

2. On the meeting between Ms Raeesah and Mr Singh on Oct 3

Ms Raeesah also disagreed with the accounts that Mr Singh gave to the committee about what happened on Oct 3 when he visited her at her home before a Parliament sitting the next day.

Ms Khan was questioned in Parliament on Oct 4 by Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam about her police station anecdote and she maintained the lie.

She said that Mr Singh never told her to "take ownership and responsibility". He also did not tell her to clarify the lie in Parliament.

Ms Raeesah stood by her previous testimony of her conversation with Mr Singh that day, where she claimed that he had told her there would be no judgement from him if she were to stick to the lie.

She confirmed that there was no further discussion with Mr Singh after he left her house, on how she might approach the issue if it came up in Parliament.

3. On the Oct 4 Parliament sitting

When shown a video clip of her exchange with Mr Shanmugam at the Oct 4 sitting during Wednesday’s hearing, Ms Raeesah said that she had been looking at her phone during the exchange because she was waiting for Mr Singh to respond to her message on what she should do. 

When Mr Singh did not reply to her, she answered Mr Shanmugam according to what she and Mr Singh had discussed the day before — that she would not be judged if she did not reveal the truth.

In a meeting with Mr Singh and Ms Lim in the Leader of the Opposition’s office later that night, Ms Raeesah said: “Perhaps, there is another way. That is, to tell the truth.” 

Ms Raeesah then said that she was shocked when Mr Singh responded by asking her if she had not already chosen a path.

This was because there was no intention or directive from Mr Singh the day before for her to tell the truth in Parliament, she testified.

The committee said in its report: “Ms Raeesah agreed that if the plan was that she should clarify the lie in Parliament, there would have been steps taken in preparation for the same, as was done in the period leading up to her personal explanation on Nov 1.” 

4. On the WP disciplinary panel meeting on Nov 29

The committee showed Ms Raeesah the notes that Ms Lim had taken during WP’s disciplinary panel meeting on Nov 29.

The notes showed Mr Singh as saying that he had told Ms Raeesah “it was your call” when he met her before the Oct 4 Parliament sitting.

Ms Raeesah told the committee that the notes accurately reflected the exchange during the disciplinary panel meeting, and that the words Mr Singh used suggested that it was up to Ms Raeesah to make the choice.

She reiterated to the committee that Mr Singh did not present her with a choice during their meeting on Oct 3.

Ms Raeesah also told the committee that she had mentioned to the disciplinary panel that she may have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

When she was asked what symptoms they were, she said that one of the symptoms was dissociation but she had never told the disciplinary panel that this was something she was experiencing.

The report and video recording of the testimonies have been made available to Parliament as well as to the public on the Parliament's website.

Related topics

Workers' Party Raeesah Khan Parliament Committee of Privileges WP psychiatrist mental health

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