SINGAPORE - Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh never used the words “take ownership and responsibility” during their Oct 3 meeting, Ms Raeesah Khan told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday (Dec 22).
Mr Singh had instead asked her to stick with her narrative rather than come clean on the untruth she told in Parliament on Aug 3, Ms Khan added.
The former WP MP gave this testimony during her third appearance before the Committee of Privileges, as she answered questions about an Oct 3 meeting she had with Mr Singh.
Sticking to what she told the committee on Dec 2 and 3, Ms Khan refuted claims by Mr Singh that he had expected her to set the record straight in Parliament and had made this clear to her by Oct 3.
During the one-hour hearing on Wednesday, Ms Khan also said repeatedly that she was telling the truth and that she will not lie under oath.
Ms Khan's conduct is under scrutiny by the committee after she told a lie in Parliament during a speech on Aug 3 about having accompanied a sexual assault victim to the police station.
Ms Khan had claimed that the woman had been driven to tears by the insensitive questions of the police. But on Nov 1, she admitted that she had heard the anecdote in a support group she was part of as a survivor of sexual assault herself.
During hearings before the committee, she said she had confessed the lie to her party leaders by Aug 8 and had been told by them to continue with it.
She also said that at an Oct 3 meeting, Mr Singh had told her that he would not judge her if she kept to the narrative.
Mr Singh has denied saying this. He told the committee on Dec 10 that when he met Ms Khan on Oct 3, he had told her that he expected her to take "ownership and responsibility" of the matter, and this meant that she was expected to tell the truth.
Mr Singh said Ms Khan became uncomfortable upon hearing this, so he said "I will not judge you, (which) meant I will not judge you if you take responsibility and ownership".
Asked about Mr Singh's testimony, Ms Khan said: "This is the first time I've heard him say these words."
She added that her former party leader "did not give any directive to clarify the lie in Parliament".
She said: "He said that if I were to continue the narrative, he would not judge me."
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.