Tidbits from Raeesah's 22nd Dec COP hearing

Committee of Privileges Hearing on 22 December 2021 - Ms Raeesah Khan screenshot
I was worried when the previous special report mentioned that the hearing has “largely concluded”, and there was no mention of calling up Raeesah to clarify her contradictions.
So I was pleasantly surprised when Raeesah was called up on the 22nd. It was an explosive hearing as she doubled down on her earlier statements.

Tidbits:

  1. This hearing gave Raeesah an opportunity to reconfirm her account of events.
    She stood by all of her earlier statements. Much of which directly contradicted testimonies from the WP leaders.
  2. Raeesah attributed the source of the “take the truth to the grave” quote back to Pritam.
    She clearly testified that it was Pritam who used the words, “take it to the grave”. In her account, the words were used in the presence of Sylvia and Faisal too.
    She further added it was not a phrase that she would usually use.
  3. Raeesah’s demeanour has changed.
    In the previous hearings, she came across as someone who was ready to face consequences for her mistakes in parliament.
    But today, there's a definite air of defiance. With a bright red blazer and a slick hair cut, she doubled down on her earlier statements that Pritam and the leadership had given her instructions to continue the lie.
  4. Mental health has come to the forefront of the hearing.
    Raeesah was visibly frustrated multiple times in the hearing.
    She was offended that Pritam made allegations regarding her emotional and mental state and suggested for her to be sent for a psych review in his hearing. She called his actions “out of line”.

Afterword:

  1. To be fair, Raeesah was the one who brought up her mental health in the first place.
    She was the one who submitted a medical report from her therapist to the WP leaders after the DP hearings, with mentions of the possibility of PTSD.
    She was also the one who brought up the term “dissociation” with Pritam to offer an explanation why she might have lied.
    I think it’s a little disingenuous for Raeesah to play the victim now and accuse Pritam of casting doubts on her mental state, when she was the one who first brought it up.
    Dissociation symptoms
  2. Just because you are outraged, it doesn’t mean you are right.
    I hope we are not distracted by Raeesah’s outrage that her mental and emotionally capabilities were questioned by Pritam.
    I notice there’s a tendency in people to gravitate towards angry individuals who seem to be championing a noble cause.
    We have to be careful that Raeesah does not distract us from the hearings about her lie and whether WP wanted to cover it up.
    While Raeesah could say it’s “out of line” for Pritam to question her mental state, she should perhaps reserve a little more outrage for the COP that actually sent her to get the two psychiatric assessments.
  3. What’s the point of telling witness to keep the hearing confidential until the COP has submitted findings to parliament?
    All the videos of the hearings are already available publicly on Youtube.
    You could see that Raeesah was ready to refute many of the points that were mentioned in the other hearings.
  4. That’s the problem with lying: it’s hard to believe a liar again once they have been caught.
    Is Raeesah truthful now? It’s really hard to tell. That’s why we tell children the story of the boy who cried wolf.
    Raeesah’s credibility is in tatters now, and that’s detrimental to her hearing in the court of public opinion.
  5. Where are the minutes from the multiple meetings in WP?
    WP needs to tighten its SOP.
    Firstly, let’s not meet at homes anymore for important issues. Yes, they can meet socially outside of work and drop off baby stuffs. But to discuss important issues, such as what course of action to take in parliament, shouldn’t there be a more formal location?
    Next, they should ensure that minutes are taken, or better yet, recordings. Especially for important meetings, such as a disciplinary hearing.
    By this, I’m of course making the assumption that WP is not hiding any minutes from the COP.
  6. Will the real Edwin please stand up?
    Joo Chiat Comedy Festival
    Unlike the Edwin that showed up to Pritam’s first hearing, he didn’t interrupt Raeesah’s hearing.
    There were no “just say yes or no” retorts. By giving Raeesah the floor, she could narrate her account across articulately. He even gave her the chance to “paraphrase” his questions.
    Obviously, it helps the PAP if WP leaders and Raeesah get into an endless cycle of mudslinging.
    In that way, the disparity of Edwin’s performance in the COP makes perfect sense.
  7. Did Raeesah succeed?
    She was championing liberal progressive issues such as sexual assault and mental health. Both of which were brought into the public consciousness of Singaporeans through the hearing.
    I think most Singaporeans will agree that such topics are highly important and deserve to be discussed in parliament and the greater public. But I’m sure there are less divisive ways of starting the conversation than how Raeesah did.
    By needlessly inserting herself as the hero in the account of a sexual assault survivor, Raeesah is unclear in her purpose.
    By characterising herself as a victim of mental health stigma by Pritam, Raeesah is unclear in her intention.
    Let us be aware of such manipulative actions, lest important conversations be hijacked for dubious means.
  8. So what happens next?
    I guess calling the hearing "largely concluded" was premature prior to Raeesah's 22nd hearing. But now that she has had a chance to submit her testimony, I think we are close to the conclusion.
    In a court of law, witnesses could submit differing testimonies, the judge/jury will decide on the sentence after lawyers have presented their case.
    COP of course works different from court, but it’s probably the closest thing we can draw a comparison with. In this case, the COP is the judge/jury.
    I think both sides have submitted all their evidence and there’s little chance anyone will budge from their positions.
    The fates of Raeesah, WP leaders and indeed, WP, are now in the hands of the COP.
  9. I can’t help but feel the conclusion of the hearing will be divisive for Singaporeans.
    This is because the testimonies are so contradictory and there’re no physical evidence to back up anyone.
    Looking online, most Singaporeans are feeling fatigued by the onslaught of information and are starting to tune out. Most have already made up their minds on who to believe before the COP comes to a conclusion.
  10. Regardless of who is telling the truth, WP needs to find a way forward.
    End of the day, the party is more important than any individual including Pritam.
    It might be controversial to say this, but I think it’s an option for Pritam to consider resigning as party secretary. Regardless of what the truth is, there are multiple leadership failures that are brought to light which he needs to be responsible for.
    It’s going to be a painful process, there isn’t a long list of candidates to take over from him. But WP needs to think about how best to limit the fallout from this.
    If Pritam stays on, his tenure will forever be mired by this debacle. But if he resigns as party secretary and continue to work in WP, he could show that he is not above party discipline and is ready to take responsibility and accept punishments.
    In fact, it fits into the narrative of WP wanting accountability and responsibility.
    It is still possible for Pritam to run for party sec again in the future. Singaporeans love to see a redemption arc. Pritam has the chance to play that role perfectly.
    In my view, whether Pritam and gang or Raeesah is right, it’s not as important as the fate of the WP. Pritam, as the party sec, needs to prioritise that above everything else, including himself.
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