Disappointing. How did Pritam Singh go from “potential PM material” to aggressive Goliath?

By December 23, 2021Current
Raeesah Khan

TL;DR: “Move on from the saga already,” they say. But this is no longer about “just a small lie” uttered by an inexperienced, young lady in Parliament! 

I remember back in August 2020 when Pritam Singh was appointed the first de jure leader of the opposition. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced then that the leader of the opposition would be provided with the appropriate manpower support and resources to perform the parliamentary role. “Wah, this one got potential, he not afraid to stand his ground and fight against all odds,” a friend commented. And if you have been following the news, in the past weeks, fight Pritam did, no holds barred.

That Whole Workers’ Party vs Raessah Khan Saga…

Backtrack. Unless you have been living in outer space, you probably have heard of the whole Workers’ Party vs Raessah Khan saga. In November 2021, WP MP Raessah Khan Khan shockingly admitted to lying about an anecdote raised in Parliament related to sexual assault. Khan was then referred to the Committee of Privileges (COP) that proceeded to look into the case. On 2 December, Ms Khan and two other party members said she was told by WP chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and WP vice-chairman Faisal Manap at an Aug 8 meeting that there was no need for her to clarify herself or for the truth to be told.

Following that meeting, she texted her secretarial assistant and a WP volunteer: “I just met Pritam, Sylvia and Faisal… they’ve agreed that the best thing to do is to take the information to the grave.” Did they really??

Ms Khan provided a contemporaneous WhatsApp message, which she had sent to Ms Loh Pei Ying and Mr Yudhisthra Nathan shortly after the meeting. Via

 

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Several other shocking revelations followed in the weeks to come.

Workers’ Party vice-chairman Faisal Manap acknowledged that he, WP chief Pritam Singh and party chairman Sylvia Lim had known about Ms Khan’s repeated lying in Parliament, but had chosen not to disclose this to other party leaders, even during disciplinary hearings into the matter. Hmm… Obviously, Faisal Manap would know that allowing lies by Ms Raeesah Khan to go unaddressed in Parliament was a potential offence?? Still Faisal Manap did not take action. Apparently, he felt it was a matter “best left to party chief Pritam Singh”. But here’s the thing, party chief then decided to deliberate take his own sweet time? Pritam took no steps to correct the untruth for 2 solid months. On 10 December, Pritam shared that he had not directed former MP Raeesah Khan to lie…

“Ms Raeesah Khan possibly suffers from dissociation, which could be why she lied in her WhatsApp message to her aides that she was told by party leaders to ‘take the information to the grave’.”

Giving evidence at the COP, Mr Singh even went as far to bring up Ms Khan’s supposed mental health condition. Wow. I wonder how Ms Khan felt having someone she trusted so much out her like that. TBH, it says a lot of Pritam’s character if you ask me. Did someone say “potential PM material”?

“It may be helpful for this committee to call for some psychiatric report or evaluation on Ms Khan.”

 Nice one, Party Chief.

Pritam suggested in his testimony last week that the committee call for a psychiatric evaluation of Ms Khan, who he said may be predisposed towards lying due to her mental condition of “disassociation”, and that important parts of her evidence might have been unreliable. Other WP leaders – chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap – had also made several assertions about Ms Khan’s mental condition in their evidence to the committee.

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Wow. Portraying their own MP and cadre members as liars and mentally unsound to save their own fast-diminishing credibility? If you haven’t already, go watch how Dennis Tan kept questioning Raessah’s mental state repeatedly. Appalling to say the least…

Anyways, all the “you say I say” aside. Dr Cheok, senior consultant at IMH and a psychiatrist by training, has assessed Ms Khan on Dec 17 and 20. Well, guess what? Ms Khan did not suffer from any psychiatric disorder that would predispose her to telling untruths.

David vs Goliath?

When push comes to shove, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do huh? In a classic show of the proverbial David vs Goliath, Workers’ Party has demonstrated over and over again the integrity of the leadership, I mean, the lack of it. It appears that the WP Leadership has no qualms about throwing their own people under the bus to save their own skin. Of course, this time, the stakes are high.

“This is not a game of cards, this is your life and mine.”

On a related note, this episode highlights how WP actually looks at mental health issues. Look at how Pritam casually asked for a psych assessment on Raessah. And look at how Dennis Tan questioned the psychiatrist and Raessah. Trying your best to discredit someone with mental illness? Definitely a low blow! Are these people we want governing Singapore in the days ahead?

Ms Khan, has since resigned from the party and as an MP for Sengkang GRC. “Move on from the saga already,” they say. Thing is, this is no longer about “just a small lie” uttered by an inexperienced, young lady in Parliament! It’s far beyond that. We should definitely get to the bottom of things, and uncover the lies. After all, the Workers’ Party is Singapore’s largest opposition party. They do need to account to fellow Singaporeans, agree?

 

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Gabrielle Teo

Author Gabrielle Teo

I read lots, and I also spend an indecent amount of time trying to get my mostly unpopular opinions published. Oh, I argue a lot with fellow Singaporeans who complain incessantly about Singapore too.

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