Police Will Interview Sengkang MP On Allegations As They’re Serious: Minister

During a Parliament session on 3 Aug, Sengkang MP Raeesah Khan made a surprising claim.

She said a few years ago, she accompanied a woman who’d allegedly been raped to make a police report, but the police made some comments that upset the victim.

Law and Home Affairs Home Minister K. Shanmugam has now asked Ms Khan for more information about the case.

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However, she declined, repeating 4 times that she’d like it to remain confidential.

Rape victim allegedly left police station in tears

The terse exchange In Parliament on Monday (4 Oct) was kicked off by a short ministerial statement by Minister Shanmugam.

He began by quoting what Ms Khan had said in Aug: That a 25-year-old rape victim had left the police station in tears.

This was because, she added,

The police officer had allegedly made comments about her dressing, and the fact that she was drinking.

Ms Khan used this anecdote to illustrate how law enforcement officers need to treat survivors of sexual crimes better.

At the time, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan had asked her to furnish more info on the incident so it can be investigated.

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However, she replied that it happened 3 years ago, and she didn’t wish to “retraumatise” the woman.

Allegations against police taken very seriously

Returning to the topic on Monday (4 Oct), Minister Shanmugam said he understands and empathises with not wanting to cause further pain to the victim.

However, these kinds of allegations made against the police are taken very seriously.

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Hence, he pointed out that giving more info about the incident doesn’t have to mean naming her.

Instead, they can identify:

  1. which police station they went to
  2. who are the officers involved, if possible

This is so that if the officers are found to have done wrong, they can be disciplined.

The authorities can consider how to protect the victim and deal sensitively with the matter, the minister added, so it won’t really be traumatising for her.

Raeesah prefers to keep it confidential

In response, Ms Khan said she would prefer for the case to remain confidential.

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She also said that she hasn’t been able to get in touch with the woman she accompanied to the police station.

After all, it has been 3 years.

Raeesah remains tight-lipped

Not giving up, Minister Shanmugam again asked her for the police station she went to, as well as the names of the officers who spoke to the victim.

He also said failing which, any details Ms Khan can give would be good, e.g. how many officers there were, and their genders, races or approximate ages.

The minister added that the police could find no record of any similar case despite searching for a long time – though perhaps that may be because they didn’t note down her name.

The Workers’ Party (WP) MP remained tight-lipped despite the repeated pressing, saying she didn’t know the identities of the officers, and cited confidentiality again.

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Minister Shanmugam then assured her that divulging the police station would not be a breach of confidentiality.

However, Ms Khan said she understood this, but still won’t say anything.

Speaker called upon to direct her to answer

At that point, Minister Shanmugam even called on Speaker Tan Chuan-Jin to direct Ms Khan to answer at least 2 basic things:

  1. which police station it was
  2. the month that she visited, purportedly in 2018

Mr Tan said it was a fair question, and asked her whether she wanted to reconsider her stand, considering any leads would be useful.

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For the 4th time, she declined.

Matter won’t rest: Shanmugam

Concluding the exchange, Minister Shanmugam however declared that the matter won’t rest at that.

He asked Ms Khan to confirm in Parliament that such an incident did happen, and she replied in the affirmative.

Since that’s so, the police will investigate it further, he said.

This will include interviewing the Sengkang MP.

Looks like we’ll be hearing more about this in future.

Determined to keep mum

Those who know Ms Khan will know that she isn’t afraid to discuss tough issues, even if it gets her in hot water.

After being warned for her social media posts, she’s still undeterred from raising issues that she feels are important.

When speaking in Parliament, more caution is needed, though. The incident she brought up is indeed serious, and mentioning it will have consequences for the officers involved if they’re found to have done wrong.

However, she also seems determined to ensure the confidentiality of the case, even if that means nothing more can be done.

Should the police make her reveal what she knows? Or do you think she should stay silent no matter what? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Featured images adapted from MCI Singapore’s YouTube.