In an early-August parliamentary session, Worker’s Party’s (WP) MP Raeesah Khan recounted a troubling incident which she claimed to have witnessed three years ago.
That day, Ms Raeesah said she had accompanied a 25-year-old rape survivor to make a police report.
However, the alleged victim had left the police station crying.
“The police officer had allegedly made comments about her dressing, and the fact that she was drinking,” Ms Raeesah said.
The WP MP then suggested deploying counsellors at police stations and training more officers to handle such cases.
MPs of the ruling party asked for more details, saying allegations of police mishandling cases are taken seriously.
At the time, Ms Raeesah said she didn’t want to elaborate for fear of re-traumatising the woman, but she may soon be compelled to do so.
Police Didn’t Find Records of Mishandled Sexual Assault Case Mentioned by MP Raeesah Khan
The police have checked their records and have not found any case which fits Ms Raeesah’s description, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday (4 Oct).
In a parliamentary session, Mr Shanmugam pressed Ms Raeesah for more specifics regarding the alleged incident she detailed in August.
Such specifics included:
- which police station she had accompanied the victim to
- details about the police officers who allegedly mishandled the case
- the rough date of the incident
- whether she had filed a complaint over the matter or brought the case to the attention of the police
“Can I ask for Ms Khan to confirm in this House that everything she has told us is accurate, that she did accompany such a person and such an incident did happen?” the Law Minister asked.
Mr Shanmugam said he empathised with the need to avoid re-traumatising victims – adding that there’s no need to disclose the victim’s name in an investigation – but said the government takes allegations concerning the police very seriously.
That’s why it’s important to identify the officers involved in the alleged incident and hear their side of the story before coming to a decision on how to proceed, he said.
Raeesah Khan’s Response
While she was also assured by Parliament speaker Tan Chuan-Jin that she wouldn’t have to disclose any names while giving details, Ms Raeesah declined to do so, as she had concerns about the victim’s confidentiality.
“With regard to confidentiality (of) the survivor, I would not like to reveal any of this information,” she said.
Mr Shanmugam dropped the issue in parliament, but added that police officers in charge will interview Ms Raeesah.
Any allegations of misconduct concerning specific officers will also be referred to police’s internal affairs office for further investigation, he added.
Back in August when Ms Raeesah recounted the anecdote in parliament, Leader of the House Indranee Rajah then took to the podium to remind all MPs to exercise their parliamentary privilege responsibly.
“I just wanted to remind members of the House that when assertions and allegations are made, members must be prepared to substantiate them,” she said.
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