GE2020: PAP calls on Workers’ Party to state its stand on Sengkang GRC candidate Raeesah Khan

At left, the PAP logo, Workers’ Party candidate Raeesah Khan at right. Images: PAP/Facebook, Raeesah Khan/Facebook
At left, the PAP logo, Workers’ Party candidate Raeesah Khan at right. Images: PAP/Facebook, Raeesah Khan/Facebook

The People’s Action Party has called on its rival Workers’ Party to state its stand on candidate Raeesah Khan over the online comments she had posted on race and religion.

The statement titled The Workers’ Party’s position on Sengkang Candidate Ms Raeesah Khan, also asked the opposition party to review the 26-year-old’s candidacy ahead of this Friday’s elections and ask Khan to reveal her previously public social media posts for review. 

In its statement today, PAP said that WP should state its stand on the candidate’s post “since she has admitted to making highly derogatory statements about Chinese and Christians.”

“Why does the WP still consider her worthy of consideration as an MP? This is a serious matter, which goes to the fundamental principles on which our country has been built,” it said. 

“In the interests of transparency, the WP should also ask Ms Raeesah to make public her other posts which were previously public and review those too. This will allow voters to make a clear assessment of her views, and her suitability to be elected into Parliament,” it added. 

“The WP should not ask voters to write it a blank cheque in Sengkang or anywhere else it contests.”

Khan yesterday apologized to the public after the police launched an investigation into her past online posts – one of which saw her allegedly claiming unequal treatment by the police. 

Police are investigating her for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race after it consulted with the Attorney-General Chambers. 

Khan had apologized in front of the press, accompanied by party members including Workers’ Party chief Pritam Singh and chairperson Sylvia Lim. 

The online posts in question were published on her social media platforms in 2018 and earlier this year. 

In one of the posts, written in the context of the social distancing violators along Robertson Quay, Khan allegedly claimed unequal treatment by the police between the “rich Chinese and white people” and others. 

In the 2018 post, she alleged that there was unequal treatment by the authorities between minorities and mosque leaders, and “corrupt church leaders.” 

This was written in the context of the high profile City Harvest Church trial where church leaders were sentenced for misappropriating nearly S$50 million in church funds. Leader Kong Hee was freed from prison after serving a portion of his three-and-a-half-year sentence. 

In her apology yesterday, Khan acknowledged that her statements were “insensitive” but that it was not her intention to divide society. 

“My intention was never to cause any social division, but to raise awareness to minority concerns. I apologize to any racial group or community who have been hurt by my comments. My remarks were insensitive, and I regret making them,” she said. 

Singh said that the party’s youngest candidate will continue to contest the election and will review the incident after the election ends. He also appeared to stand by Khan, who he said was part of a generation that grew up on social media. 

“For me personally, I don’t encourage and would be actually a bit disappointed if our candidates would try to sanitise their past, and I think they should be upfront and authentic to the public,” he told reporters. “This is who they are. And in the event there are certain posts or certain comments that they may have made which are untoward, then I would expect them to explain themselves.”

After the public apology was made, thousands stood up for Raeesah Khan online, spawning the #IStandWithRaeesah movement on Twitter. 

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