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Sengkang residents split on whether MP Raeesah Khan should quit over lying admission, with some feeling let down

SINGAPORE — A day after Ms Raeesah Khan of the Workers’ Party (WP) admitted to misleading Parliament about a sexual assault case, some residents in her Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) expressed disappointment over her actions.

Sengkang residents split on whether MP Raeesah Khan should quit over lying admission, with some feeling let down

The Workers' Party has formed a disciplinary panel to look into admissions made by its member Raeesah Khan (pictured) who said that she misled Parliament over a claim.

 

  • Some residents of Sengkang GRC said they were disappointed by Ms Raeesah Khan
  • On Monday, the Workers' Party MP admitted to misleading Parliament about comments she made on a sexual assault case
  • Some residents felt she should step down as MP because it cast doubt on her integrity
  • Others said her mistake did not negate the work she has done for her constituency
  • If she stays on, senior party members should provide her with more guidance, some residents suggested

 

SINGAPORE — A day after Ms Raeesah Khan of the Workers’ Party (WP) admitted to  misleading Parliament about a sexual assault case, some residents in her Sengkang Group Representation Constituency (GRC) expressed disappointment over her actions.

Several of them felt that Ms Raeesah, 28, who oversees the Compassvale ward, should step down as a Member of Parliament (MP), while others said that this one error of judgement should not wipe out all the work that she has done for her constituency.

They also felt that the incident highlighted her youth and inexperience as a parliamentarian and said that senior party leaders should put in more effort to train her for the role of MP.

Of the 25 residents that TODAY approached on Tuesday (Nov 2), seven said that they were unaware of the issue. Among the remaining 18, half said that they were disappointed by Ms Raeesah’s actions.

The residents were also divided over whether she should quit Parliament: Seven said that she should stay, while an equal number said that she should leave. Four residents did not give an opinion or they had no views on the matter.

On Monday, Ms Raeesah apologised in Parliament for claiming in August that she had accompanied a rape victim to a police station, where the victim was treated insensitively.

The MP said that she had not followed the victim to the station, but had heard the anecdote from the victim while attending a women’s support group.

In response, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah referred Ms Raeesah’s conduct to Parliament's privileges committee, which looks into any complaint alleging breaches of parliamentary privilege.

On Tuesday, the WP announced that it had formed a disciplinary panel to look into Ms Raeesah’s admission. The panel comprises WP chief Pritam Singh, chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap.

'SHAMEFUL' TO LIE IN PARLIAMENT

Speaking to TODAY, one resident of Ms Raeesah’s ward, who asked to be identified only as Mr Lim, described her admission in Parliament as “shameful” and said that she should step down.

“Even though they are the Opposition, I expect them to uphold high standards,” the 75-year-old retiree said.

“I voted for her, and she played me out.”

Mr Karthikeyan, 35, who is self-employed and declined to give his full name, said that Ms Raeesah should step down as her “integrity has been tarnished”.

He added that Mr Singh, WP's chief, should also use this as an opportunity to send a strong message to all MPs that lying should not be tolerated in Parliament.

Another resident, Ms Summer Chong, said that taken together with a police investigation into Ms Raeesah during the General Election (GE) last July for alleged online comments on race and religion, this latest episode was further evidence that Ms Raeesah was not a competent MP.

However, the 31-year-old administrator said that she did not mind giving Ms Raeesah a second chance since she could be voted out in the next GE.

‘JUST A SLIP-UP’

Other residents were more forgiving of Ms Raeesah, saying that she was still learning the ropes of being an MP and that it should not negate her other efforts to help her constituents.

“One slip-up doesn’t invalidate her other good work,” a Compassvale resident said.

The 35-year-old teacher who wanted to be known only as Ms Vee added: “She’s always doing house visits and speaking to people. I can see my MP often.”

Another teacher and Compassvale resident, Mr Mohamad Nasrullah Refa’ie, 36, said that although he was disappointed in Ms Raeesah, the MP still appeared to be a “compassionate listener” who was regularly present at Meet-the-People sessions before they were suspended recently due to rising Covid-19 cases.

Mr Jeremy Tan, a 29-year-old marketing executive, said it was understandable that younger WP MPs would “stumble here and there” in Parliament.

He added that he still had faith in Ms Raeesah’s capabilities as an MP and did not see the need to “keep harping” on her mistake.

Mr Reuben, an IT consultant, said that “it was just one mistake” and did not warrant her stepping down. The 29-year-old, who declined to give his full name, hopes that Ms Raeesah would learn from this episode.

MORE GUIDANCE REQUIRED IF SHE STAYS ON

Other residents suggested that senior WP party leaders should provide more guidance to her if Ms Raeesah stayed on as MP.

She was the party’s youngest candidate in last year’s GE.

Ms Chong, the administrator, said that the mistake could have occurred due to Ms Raeesah’s inexperience as an MP and that senior party members such as Mr Singh should give her guidance.

Similarly, Mr Nasrullah, the teacher, said that the party could ensure that its MPs deliver accurate statements in Parliament in future to avoid a repeat of the incident.

There were residents who said that they would wait to hear the outcomes of deliberations by WP’s disciplinary tribunal and the Parliament's privileges committee.

A 29-year-old engineer who wanted to be known only as John said that Ms Raeesah’s mistake has no direct bearing on residents, and it was up to WP to decide on how to approach the matter.

“She has already apologised. I don’t know what else she can do to make up for it,” he added.

TODAY has approached WP and Ms Raeesah for comment.

Related topics

Raeesah Khan Workers' Party Parliament Pritam Singh Sengkang

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