Raeesah Khan, the Workers’ Party (WP)’s youngest candidate for the coming general election, shares her experiences in empowering the lives of marginalised Singaporeans in a video released on Monday (29 June).
Ms Khan, 26, is a graduate of economics and marketing from Murdoch University. She founded the Reyna Movement, through which she empowers young women, refugee women and women from low-income backgrounds.
“These women are incredible. They’ve gone through so much in life, but they started their own home businesses,” said Ms Khan.
Reyna Movement, she said, assists the women in taking their businesses “to the next level”.
The organisation also engages in the work of alleviating poverty among “low-income families, especially low-income mothers who need any type of assistance”.
Accessible housing and greater protection for workers are among issues close to Ms Khan’s heart.
Citing her experience assisting party secretary-general Pritam Singh during past Meet-the-People sessions in Aljunied group representation constituency (GRC) as a case worker, Ms Khan said that what struck her the most during such sessions was “how many senior citizens” approached them to speak on various issues they were facing.
“There are people who are coming who had to work really back-breaking jobs and people who couldn’t even afford healthcare, and who were struggling to pay conservancy fees,” she recalled.
“They’ve worked their whole lives in this country. They’ve given everything to this country, and the way we treat them is just — I feel — it’s not how they deserve to be treated,” Ms Khan added.
Simply having food on the table as many people believe, Ms Khan said, is not enough.
“To live with dignity is enough, and that is a human right.”
In an introductory virtual press conference last Saturday (27 June), Ms Khan told the media that she aims to contribute to a Singapore where “every Singaporean has a seat at the table”, in contrast to a Singapore where “only elites get a seat at the table” in policymaking and deciding on the future of the nation.
She reiterated this stance in a Facebook video uploaded yesterday titled “Why I’m Running for Parliament”.
Expressing her hope for the kind of future Singapore she wishes to see her son grow up in, the married mother-of-one said in the Facebook video uploaded today that she hopes for a Singapore where “we provide equal opportunities for everyone” and “have proper political dialogue around the issues we face in this country”.
Referencing the analogy of “rocking the boat”, Ms Khan said that she often thinks of the vulnerable “who have already fallen from the boat and are drowning”.
Having a “bigger and better” boat, she said, would mean having a country that views its citizens “as equal stakeholders who all want a safe and healthy life”.
Being an elected official does not make one “more important than the person cleaning our tables”, said Ms Khan stressed.
“If the boat doesn’t work, build one that welcomes everybody and is there to serve the people who made it, you know? [People who] contributed to it, who pay for it,” she said.