Vital to frame issues in ‘considerate, accountable manner’, says Singapore WP’s Raeesah Khan after police warning for Facebook posts

Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan is pictured speaking to the media on Sunday night (July 5). — TODAY
Workers' Party candidate Raeesah Khan is pictured speaking to the media on Sunday night (July 5). — TODAY

SINGAPORE, Sept 18 — Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan said she had learned as an MP that she has the power to start difficult conversations and that it is vital to “frame these conversations in a considerate and accountable manner”.

She said this in a Facebook post yesterday, as she issued a fresh apology for two past social media posts that surfaced during the General Election (GE) and then came under police investigation. Raeesah had also earlier apologised for the posts on July 5.

The police said earlier yesterday that they had completed investigations into allegations the posts promoted enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or race and had given Raeesah a stern warning.

Raeesah, who was elected as an MP for Sengkang Group Representation Constituency at the GE, said that her intention “was never to cause social unrest or division”.

“I have spent most of my youth and adult life advocating, campaigning and organising for minority causes, such as working with families torn apart by incarceration, people with disabilities and women who have gone through sexual assault.

“In my passion, I have said things in a manner that may have caused hurt to certain communities,” the 26-year-old said. “I apologise for this... I will continue to learn and hope to contribute to positive change in Singapore.”

She added that throughout the course of the investigations, she “had the benefit of support from my family and friends who helped me to understand the system, what I was being investigated for and how I could represent myself to the best of my ability”.

Raeesah made the social media posts in February 2018 and in May this year.

She was also investigated for an additional alleged offence of contempt by scandalising the court for the 2018 post, the police added.

In the 2018 post, Raeesah commented in the context of a legal ruling on City Harvest Church that Singapore jailed minorities mercilessly and harassed mosque leaders but let “corrupt church leaders who stole S$50 million (RM152 million) walk free”.

In the May post, she made reference to a viral post showing people mingling outdoors at Robertson Quay during the circuit breaker and commented that Singapore's law enforcement authorities discriminated against citizens, and that, compared to other groups, rich Chinese and Caucasians were treated differently under the law.

Raeesah, who is also the founder of the Reyna Movement, a regional organisation set up in 2016 to empower women through community engagement and upskilling programmes, added in her post yesterday that in the past few months, she had met people from all walks of life in her role as an MP.

“The conversations I have had have been humbling (and) insightful, and have allowed me to understand how each one of us has an important role to play in creating a Singapore that is equitable, just and compassionate,” she said.

She said she hopes that, as an MP, she can use the appropriate platforms to speak on matters concerning her constituents.

“I thank everyone for their understanding and support throughout this time,” she added.

“I will do my best to pay it forward, and continue to use my voice in Parliament to speak frankly and responsibly on important issues.”

Raeesah and other members of the WP Sengkang GRC team — Jamus Lim, He Ting Ru and Louis Chua — garnered 52.12 per cent of the vote at the GE. — TODAY

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