On November 2, political analysts said that in order to preserve the credibility of the Workers’ Party of Singapore, they should opt to take a firm stand against the actions of Raeesah Khan of Sengkang GRC MP.
In this news in Singapore, we are covering the opinions of political observers regarding the incident.
WP Must Make A Decision
According to Walid Jumblatt Abdullah teh assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University’s School of Social Sciences, he stated that the party should let go of her.
“She may decide to resign of her own accord, and that could work too. But either way, the party has to appear decisive in the wake of what happened,” he continued.
He also mentioned that the firm actions of the party versus Hougang’s ex-MP Yaw Shin Leong aided the party to win the subsequent election.
Mr. Yaw was dismissed by the Workers Party in 2012 for not maintaining responsibility and transparency when he refused to present himself to the party leaders and clarify the allegations against him regarding his extramarital affairs.
Professor Walid said, “So I would not necessarily say that the party’s credibility has taken a nosedive. How it reacts to this incident, however, will determine its credibility.”
On Monday, Ms. Raeesah confessed on lying about an alleged incident where she insisted that the police erred on handling the complaint of a rape victim. The allegations were first presented to the Parliament in August.
While on a campaign, Ms. Raeesah posted a public apology for her previous Facebook posts claiming that the police are discriminating against minorities. She has received warning because of her actions.
Singapore Management University Law Professor Eugene Tan said that the party quickly apologized for the matter and it had a great impact on the election campaign.
Prof. Tan said, “The elephant in the room is what did the WP leadership do when Ms. Raeesah refused to substantiate her allegations against the police in the August sitting. We are talking about very serious allegations against the police.”
“Furthermore, did they do enough by way of due diligence when Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam followed up on Ms Raeesah’s allegations in the October sitting? The alarm bells should have been ringing loudly of Ms Raeesah’s mea culpa.”
A Challenge to WP
Ms. Nydia Ngiow of Bower Group Asia said that this will serve as a litmus test of the integrity of the WP and the leader of the Opposition.
Ms. Ngiow stated, “This development has been a big blow to the credibility of the Workers’ Party, given that her initial remarks, for which she did not even have the consent of the victim to share, cast doubt over the Singapore Police Force and wasted precious resources which could have been directed elsewhere.”
The Damage is Done
According to International Affairs Analysts Dr. Mustafah Izzudin, the damage to the reputation of the party is done and they have to move forward from it.
“The WP ideological brand can outlive its current political predicament due to strong political leadership and solidarity in the party ranks, and there is sufficient time before the next election to turn around its current political quandary,” he noted.
The analysts said that even if Ms. Raeesah stepped down from the party, a by-election for MP in Sengkang GRC is highly unlikely.
Political analyst Felix Tan said that even though the incident happened, WP still continued to hire younger candidates.
He said, “What this entire episode taught us is that this is a lesson for anyone who wants to be in politics. That what you say will be taken up to task. You will be questioned, you should be ready to answer them with facts and not hide behind the veneer of being young, of being in the opposition.”
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