Raeesah Khan has brought Singapore politics to an inflection point
Not all inflection points happen with a bang. Most are subtle, but society’s reaction to the change will have far-reaching implications.
Workers’ Party Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan’s claim of police misconduct, during the 3 August debate on empowering women, is an inflection point for Singapore politics. The outcome will signal Singaporean’s acceptance or rejection of Trumpian politics — describe as blustering, narcissistic behavior, and a brazen disregard for the truth.
During the debate, Khan highlighted an incident of the police mishandling a sexual assault case by making inappropriate comments when interviewing the rape victim. Khan said she witnessed this misconduct three years ago as she had personally accompanied the 25-year-old rape victim to a police station to make the report where the incident happened.
As allegations of misconduct by government institutions can lead to loss of trust in the agency, they are taken seriously. The Ministry of Home Affairs has checked their records and found no cases that fit Khan’s description. When pressed for further details so that the police can investigate the allegations, Khan has repeatedly declined to give any information to substantiate her claim citing the privacy of the victim. Even with the assurance that the victim’s name will not be released publicly, Khan has declined to even reveal generic information such as the police station she had accompanied the victim to, and even the rough date of the incident. This lack of candor only fuels the belief that the incident was made up.
While MPs have parliamentary privilege, they should not abuse it to make scurrilous attacks or comments. It is important that when an MP makes assertions and allegations, they must be prepared to substantiate them.
As the government pushes for Khan to substantiate her allegations or withdraw it, equally important is how Singaporeans respond. If Singaporeans sit back and allow politicians to lie without consequences, we will end up a broken democracy like the United States where truth no longer matters.
[Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed belong solely to me. They do not represent the views of my employer, or any organization, committee, group or individual I am associated with.]