It would be fair to say that the campaign for general election 2020 has been vicious at times with the Peoples’ Action Party (PAP) seemingly using its political machine to its advantage. From who could put election posters where to seemingly unequal time slots being allocated during political debates, at times, the competition did not seem altogether fair. The most notable issue however, remains, the seeming persecution of Workers’ Party (WP) candidate for Sengkang Group Representative Constituency (GRC), Raeesah Khan.
As the campaign was going at full steam, it emerged that two police reports were lodged against Khan for alleged racist remarks that she made two years ago against the Chinese community in Singapore. Bearing in mind that Singapore has a strong Chinese majority and Khan appeared to be fighting for equality, it seemed strange to accuse an equality campaigner of racism. Granted, her choice of words could have been better but the fact remains that it would be a hard sell to convince the public that Khan is racist.
Voters in Sengkang have clearly indicated that they do not consider Khan a racist. They voted for the WP team in which she is a part of thereby making Sengkang, the second GRC to go blue.
However, despite WP’s glorious victory in Sengkang GRC (which appeared to defy all odds), it must be remembered that the two police reports lodged against Khan remain under investigation. This means that the police can still take action against her and charge her which in turn could lead to her disqualification as a member of parliament (MP) if she is jailed for not less than a year or to a fine of not less than S$2,000. Her position as an MP is therefore not as secure as one may think.
Contrast this with how quickly the police and the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) dismissed the police report lodged against Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat for saying (without empirical data) that older Singaporeans were not ready for a non Chinese Prime Minister. Heng seemed to be applying a glass ceiling on the political ambitions of minorities (thereby cementing inequality) while Khan (with the passion and energy of youth) appeared to be strenuously and passionately asking for equality. Yet, the police report against Heng has been dismissed while Khan’s remain open?
Looking at the ongoing legal saga that the WP run Aljunied Hougang Town Council remains embroiled in, the public cannot be blamed if it is fearful that the police reports lodged against Khan could be used against her at a later time.
Given that the police and the AGC have been so prompt with dismissing the report made against Heng for similar issues (i.e. making comments with racial overtones), shouldn’t they similarly dismiss the reports made against Khan?
The team she was part of won the election fair and square. Our state agencies should therefore confirm if any charges will be brought against her as soon as possible and let her get on with the important work of being an MP without this hanging over her head. Not to do so could be seen as state agencies interfering with the work of a duly elected MP.