Sylvia's hearing shed much light into the disciplinary panel hearing against Raeesah Khan.
The word “rape” came up early in the hearing and was redacted.
There was an exchange requesting Sylvia to use the phrase “sexual assault” instead of “rape”. Sylvia clarified she was just presenting evidence as it is.
It’s a new era of social media where outrage can be easily manufactured online. You could see politicians are keenly aware of this and are careful with the words they used.
Another telling example, is when some members insist on using the term “Female Genital Cutting” instead of “Female Genital Mutilation”.
Raeesah is keenly aware. She thanked Grace Fu for using the phrase "Sexual assault survivor" instead of "sexual assault victim" at the end of her hearing.
But social media is not real life. Things you can say in social media to earn you "likes", can get you into trouble in real life.
Perhaps Raeesah needs to disassociate from online social media and relearn the real life.
I like this version of Edwin Tong.
Calm, cool and collected, he was able to put his questions across in a way that was logical and easy to follow.
The truth honestly already looks bad for the WP, just letting WP come clean on record is damaging enough. There’s no need to word play and quibble with the witnesses.
Now that time isn’t wasted on word sparring, the hearing is significantly shorter than the two before.
In my opinion, the quantity of information which came out is equivalent to each of the hearings before.
I believe I thank Mr Tong on behalf of many Singaporeans for not letting the proceedings drag on.
Raeesah volunteered with Pritam in Eunos for a year.
So I guess in that sense, she did pay her dues before she was selected to be a candidate for Sengkang.
There were online chatter and I did wonder myself too as to whether her parents played a part in securing her nomination as the candidate. Well, at least now we have some evidence to the contrary.
Raeesah needed convincing to tell the truth, according to Sylvia.
It seemed like Raeesah had wanted to keep up the lie. She was reluctant to accept that she needed to tell the truth in parliament. The leaders had to urge her to tell the truth.
Which brings us back to the origin of the phrase “take the information to the grave” It seems more and more likely that phrase was born from her imagination.
Sylvia's testimony is largely consistent except for one huge difference.
Sylvia asserted that Pritam did tell the CEC that they knew of the lie, before presenting the recommendations of the DP.
The testimony from Sylvia is inconsistent with that of the others. And it actually paints Pritam in a good light. In fact, this means he actually followed the advice of Pei Ying and Nathan.
But nobody on the committee seem interested to pursue clarifications on this and it was left as such.
To be honest, I suspect there are already opinions formed and conclusions drawn by the members of the COP at this point. I don't think mentally, they had wanted to spend more effort pursuing new threads. It could also explain why the hearing is becoming shorter and shorter.
More details of the DP hearing came out.
As part of the DP hearing, Raeesah submitted a report from her psychotherapist. It stated that she had PTSD.
Regarding the now infamous “substantiate” point from Pritam, Raeesah thought her anecdote was enough.
In her DP defence, Raeesah brought up her mental health, age, her status as a minority woman.
Basically she tried to use every single disadvantage she has to her advantage.
In the DP, Sylvia made effort to clarify once and for all, did Raeesah accompany any victim to the police in Singapore?
In her recounting of Raeesah’s response, Raeesah’s answer was shifty.
First she said, “I didn’t go with them inside, but I dropped them off. They were my friends”.
Ok, so she didn’t “accompany” as much as she “ferried” them. And conveniently, they were her friends.
Then she went on to say, “this didn’t happen in Singapore, but I’ve done it in Australia”.
I guess she just couldn’t bring herself to answer a simple “no” to this question.
Australia sounds like a scary place to be in.
Raeesah said she was sexually assaulted there. In the DP, she also said her friends were sexually assaulted in Australia.
I, for one, am glad to be in Singapore, where so much effort was made to investigate accusations of police mishandling one sexual assault case. 1,400 cases were reopened and investigated to make sure every single one was handled well. Quite honestly, my faith and confidence in SPF is reinforced as we come to the end of this episode.
Perhaps the Australian media/police should follow Singapore’s example and pick up on Raeesah’s statement and investigate her sexual assault case rigorously. I have heard many nice things about Australia, but Raeesah and her friends’ experience in Australia scares me.
Raeesah told Sylvia she couldn’t resign and leave the team because she was informed by “someone” that it will trigger a by-election.
Firstly let’s just call her out on her bullshit. It’s convenient that there’s an unidentified “someone” who gave her this advice.
Who this “someone” is, cannot be answered when Sylvia pressed her on it. Well, it sounds like “someone” is a figment of Raeesah’s imagination, that was created to give her justification for not resigning.
Raeesah’s relationship with reality is tenuous. If this “someone” did in fact exist, Raeesah should still resign for taking heed of such lousy advice.
Raeesah messaged Pritam on the 4th of August to ask if she had a future in the party.
I don’t think we found out what Pritam’s reply was.
Perhaps if Pritam could go back in time, there’s the possibility he will reply GTFO.
There was an interesting piece of evidence that could work for and against WP.
Pritam asked Raeesah during the DP, “before the October session, I met you and I told you it was your call. Did the need to tell the truth in parliament occur to you?“
To which Raeesah replied, “Yes, but I was consumed with guilt and my own experience” and Pritam ask her rhetorically, ”You can’t lie right?”
Pritam telling Raeesah “it was your call” is not a good look. It should not have been her “call” as much as it should have been expected.
But Raeesah’s reply of “Yes” is telling too. She tried to build a narrative that she lied the second time in Oct because she thought she was following the advice of senior party leaders during her COP hearing. From this exchange, it seems clear that there wasn’t any advice from the leadership to lie and cover up. In fact, it’s clear there was no advice at all.
She clearly lied for a second time in October’s parliament sitting on her own accord.
One final bombshell came at the end where Sylvia revealed they investigated whether Raeesah’s anecdote itself, of her hearing about the sexual assault from the group chat was indeed true or not.
Well, save the best for the last. I waited with bated breath for the great reveal.
It turns out the organiser did indeed see Raeesah Khan in the chat during 2018 and 2019.
But the organiser was unable to confirm if that recounting of the police mishandling the case did indeed happen or not. So with the benefit of doubt, WP decided to leave it as it is and believe Raeesah.
Things are now ever more damning for Raeesah.
Pritam, Sylvia and Faisal’s evidence have been pretty consistent throughout the hearing. The crux of the issue is that they all testified they never ever told Raeesah to cover up the lie.
You could dispute they could have been clearer in instructions, that they should have told the public etc, but incompetence is not malice.
Raeesah, on the other hand, had been exposed to not be a credible witness. She embellished her words, has a track record of lying and did not appear to be stable based on reports from her own therapists.
Pei Ying and Nathan are secondary witnesses in the sense that they have been prejudiced by falsehood from Raeesah, such as “take the information to the grave”. I think there should be justification to question the weight of their evidence based on this.
Mental health issues are not to be trivialised. Sexual assault trauma is also of grave importance.
But we should also place equal, if not more, weight in truth, integrity and facts. We must not let Raeesah abuse these important matters as excuses to obfuscate the truth from us.
There must also be proper and fair repercussions to serve as a stern warning for other politicians who may want to flirt with untruths.
Lawyers, psychotherapist, psychiatrists, therapists… Raeesah has access to a lot of resources that day to day Singaporeans do not.
With all the advice she’s getting, how did things still end up that bad? Perhaps too many cooks spoilt the broth.
From the testimonies, you could build a consistent narrative that Raeesah lied and came up with many untruths to try and make herself appear like a hero to the public.
When that failed, she tried to turn herself into a martyr.
She might want to talk to her therapist about god complex in their next meeting.
Pritam needs to be more firm in his leadership.
“I will not judge you”, “I told you it was your call”, etc are not words from a firm or experienced leader.
Does Edwin monitor online chatter?
Perhaps he did also notice that online opinion swayed against him.
Or maybe he had realised the futility of his questioning, since the truth seems quite clear cut now?
If he does indeed listen to online chatter, I would like to bring the following to his attention.
What conclusion you draw from the hearing so far depends on what you subscribe to most in life.
If you are of the firm view that mental health is an issue that is often overlooked, you will say that Raeesah deserves more therapy.
If you firmly believe that we don’t listen and believe sexual assault survivors, you will say that Raeesah’s bravery deserves support.
End of the day, you might still stand with Raeesah.
For me, I subscribe to the phrase: "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”