The Workers’ Party spoke about everything except what mattered most


After a rigorous 4-hour debate which resulted in dozens of news articles, especially on the topic of integrity and its impact on Singapore’s democracy, it’s safe to say that many Singaporeans spent some time last week revisiting the saga concerning Ms Raeesah Khan and digesting the parliamentary debate surrounding it.

It was disheartening to note that the Workers’ Party (WP) leaders, in their speeches, chose not to address any of the pertinent issues of this case, including why Ms Khan repeated her lies in Parliament and why it took three months for the truth to be told.

Instead, the WP leaders took Singaporeans down the rabbit hole with diversionary tactics such as:

i. Querying the composition of the Committee of Privileges (CoP) ( never an issue before and which just reflects the composition of parliament itself) 

ii. Not being allowed to go to the bathroom unaccompanied (a claim refuted by Parliament )

iii. That it wasn’t fair to say that Mr Pritam Singh weaponised Ms Khan’s mental health and even though the videos show that Mr Singh did call her mental health into question.

Smoke and mirrors

We appeal to all Singaporeans to look past the smokescreen and ask ourselves some simple questions:

  • Why did it take so long for the truth to come out?
  • Why was there no direct or clear instruction from the WP leaders to Ms Khan to tell the truth?
  • Are the WP leaders’ accounts credible?

If Mr Singh was crystal clear that Ms Khan should tell the truth, why go about it in a roundabout manner, using phrases like “I won’t judge you” and “It’s your call”? instead of simply saying: “Raeesah, please tell the truth.”

Leader of the House Indranee Rajah noted this puzzling discrepancy in her round up speech in Parliament on Feb 15, pointing out: “There was no clear instruction from Mr Singh or anybody else to say: ‘Raeesah, please go back to Parliament and tell them the truth.’ Instead, there was this parsing of words: ‘Take ownership’, ‘Take responsibility’, ‘I will not judge you’”.

WP is essentially the government-in-waiting

Anyone working in Government is well aware that any transgressions or breaches of integrity will be swiftly dealt with because there’s zero tolerance within Government for any misconduct. 

Why then should Singaporeans look past what the WP had done or had failed to do? Because Mr Singh is the Leader of the Opposition? These questions are worth asking because WP is the main opposition party and essentially the government-in-waiting.  What does this say about the values they have and where they would lead Singaporeans if ever governance were in their hands?

While the PAP is not in the business of improving the slate and state of opposition in Singapore, we are committed to having a strong, mature political system that is able to continually take Singapore forward. That’s why the office of the Leader of the Opposition was set up, and resources given to Mr Singh to do his job.

No blank cheque

In GE2020, WP said voters should not give PAP a blank cheque. As Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted in his speech on the Committee of Privileges (COP) report, likewise the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t have a blank cheque either.

Any reasonable person looking at the facts and evidence in the COP report would agree that the behaviour and actions of the WP leaders are troubling and that there are serious questions that need to be answered.

Nobody knows just how deep the rabbit hole goes, but sooner or later, truth will out.

Cover photo credit: Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash