“Tell the Truth, Khan or Khannot?”, the latest melodrama to capture Singapore’s attention, has certainly thrown up many twists and turns, the first of which came when Ms Raeesah Khan, former MP and Worker’s Party (WP) member, admitted to lying in Parliament several times.
The next surprise came when she accused her former party’s leaders – including Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh – of instructing her to continue with her lie.
Since then, Mr Singh, WP chair Slyvia Lim, and vice-chair Faisal Manap have been called to testify before the Committee of Privileges (COP), and their account of events certainly differs from that of Ms Khan’s.
You can watch the summary of Mr Faisal’s hearing here:
Here’s a summary of Mr Singh’s hearing:
The melodrama should have ended there, but then came another surprise – Mr Singh testifying for the second time.
Pritam Singh Called Back to Clarify Evidence Given By Sylvia Lim
According to the COP’s special report, Mr Singh was called back to clarify evidence given by Ms Lim during her hearing.
There was no verbal jousting this time, as both Mr Singh and Mr Edwin Tong seemed to come to an implicit agreement to be a little nicer to each other.
The evidence that prompted the COP’s decision to call Mr Singh back was a document Ms Lim had submitted to the COP—notes she had taken during the WP’s Disciplinary Panel (DP) interview with Ms Khan on 29 Nov.
It included this exchange between Mr Singh and Ms Khan:
PS: Before Oct session, I met you + I told you it was your call. Did need to tell the truth in Parl occur to you?
RK: Yes but consumed with guilt + own experience. Thought it wouldn’t come up.
PS: Can’t lie right?
In its report, the COP outlined two issues arising from this piece of evidence that they wanted to address:
- What Mr Singh had told Ms Khan on 3 Oct
- What Ms Khan should do and what he expected her to do if the matter arose
When asked about it, Mr Singh agreed that the 29 Nov notes were accurate, and that the phrase “your call” could seem to mean that he had told Ms Khan on 3 Oct that she had to make a choice—meaning it’d be up to her if she desired to come clean or continue with her lie on 4 Oct if asked about it.
But Mr Singh said that by “your call”, he meant that Ms Khan should take responsibility for her work in Parliament—in other words, he didn’t use the phrase in the traditional sense.
He emphasised that the phrase had to be looked at in the context of the meeting.
Even though he used the words “your call” to describe what he had told Ms Khan during their 3 Oct meeting, Mr Singh said that those were not the words he used.
He also pointed to the fact that he said “Can’t lie, right?” to show that he was clear in that he didn’t want Ms Khan to continue with her untruth.
He added that he had told Ms Khan to take “ownership and responsibility” during the Oct meeting.
But he also agreed that it could have been taken another way.
Mr Singh agreed that it was reasonable to construe the words “your call” to mean that it was a choice for Ms Khan to make. He also agreed that based on Ms Lim’s notes of the 29 Nov DP meeting, it appeared that he had given Ms Khan a choice.
When asked why he wasn’t clearer with his message (i.e. say “own up and tell the truth”), Mr Singh said that by asking her to take ownership and responsibility, he had, in his own way, communicated this message.
You can watch Mr Singh’s second testimony below. Don’t worry it isn’t nine hours, just 40 minutes:
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