Pritam Singh told Raeesah Khan's father in October that she had to 'take ownership and responsibility' of her lie

WP chief Pritam Singh (left) and former WP MP Raeesah Khan.

SINGAPORE - Workers' Party chief and Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh told a parliamentary committee that he had told Ms Raeesah Khan's father some time in the second half of October that Ms Khan had to take ownership and responsibility for the lie she had told in Parliament.

Mr Singh brought this up on Wednesday (Dec 15) when he appeared before the Committee of Privileges for a second time, to underscore how he had left Ms Khan in no doubt that he expected her to tell the truth.

The exchange between Mr Singh and Mr Farid Khan was among 100 pages of documents, containing mostly communications and one or two e-mail messages, that Mr Singh submitted to the committee.

Mr Singh said he communicated with Mr Khan, a presidential hopeful in the 2017 presidential election, after Ms Khan had told her parents about "what was happening".

"Ownership and responsibility are quite a major part of my message to Mr Khan," said Mr Singh, noting that "those words were really the central focus of what I expected Ms Khan to do had the matter come up post-Oct 3".

Ms Khan, who resigned as a WP member and Sengkang GRC MP on Nov 30, had claimed in her parliamentary speech on Aug 3 that she had accompanied a sexual assault victim to the police station and seen the woman emerge crying after the police asked her insensitive questions.

It turned out this was actually an anecdote she had heard at a support group for survivors of sexual assault, which she attended as a survivor herself.

When Ms Khan was asked about the anecdote in Parliament on Oct 4, she repeated the lie.

In her statement to Parliament on Nov 1 confessing the truth, she said she had lied because she had never told her parents and family about her assault and was not ready to reveal it in public.

Mr Singh, WP chairman Sylvia Lim and vice-chairman Faisal Manap told the committee during the hearings that they did not press Ms Khan to set the record straight when they learnt on Aug 8 that she had lied because they wanted to give her time to speak to her parents.

But after Ms Khan repeated her lie in Parliament on Oct 4, the three party leaders and Ms Khan came to a collective decision on Oct 12 that she would have to come clean at the next sitting of Parliament.

When she appeared before the committee on Dec 2, Ms Khan said that she had broken the news to her parents only a few weeks after the Oct 12 meeting.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.