Workers' Party remains united after Raeesah Khan controversy: Pritam Singh

SINGAPORE — Workers' Party (WP) chief Pritam Singh insisted his party remains united and has rallied together after the indictment of former Sengkang GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan for lying in Parliament.

Speaking on the sidelines of a National Day dinner organised by the party at Hougang Avenue 5 on Saturday (13 August), the Leader of the Opposition said he is proud of how his party members "quickly came together as one" following Raeesah's resignation and WP's censure by the Committee of Privileges.

"If we are not united, we will have a problem engaging the public and being persuasive to be a voice and to represent the opposition interest in Parliament effectively," Pritam said when asked by reporters if those incidents had affected WP's volunteer and candidate recruitment.

"I'm proud of the party and proud of how quickly we came together as one."

The WP secretary-general declined to reveal plans to replace Raeesah as Sengkang MP, however, saying that the replacement "will happen in due course".

Workers' Party secretary-general Pritam Singh speaking to reporters at a National Day dinner held by the party in Hougang. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)
Workers' Party secretary-general Pritam Singh speaking to reporters at a National Day dinner held by the party in Hougang. (PHOTO: Chia Han Keong/Yahoo News Singapore)

Raeesah had stepped down in November last year after admitting to lying in Parliament. She was deemed to have abused parliamentary privilege and fined $35,000.

Meanwhile, Pritam and party vice-chairman Faisal Manap were referred to the public prosecutor by the Committee of Privileges for their conducts during investigations.

Cost of living the key concern among residents in WP wards

During his speech to reporters at the National Day dinner event, Pritam said that rising cost of living has been the key concern among residents in the WP constituencies - Sengkang, Hougang and Aljunied - as the party resumed outreach activities following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in April this year.

The party will be expanding a scheme which provides subsidies of up to $50 for residents of its wards needing household repairs. Piloted at the start of the year, the scheme was initially for older singles, but will now be offered to all residents on a case-by-case basis.

"Cost of living issues do come up very often, and I think that's completely understandable. And for the older generation, or many of those who have retired or may not be earning as much as they were before, they feel the pain," Pritam said.

"In Parliament, we had an engagement with the Finance Minister when the government announced a $1.5 billion package in 21 June. And we'll certainly look at what is the fiscal situation of the government and whether there is scope to actually enlarge that package. These are issues that we've already put to the Government and I will continue watching this very closely."

Besides resuming outreach activities, WP youth wing president Nicole Seah said the party is also reaching out to the younger generation through new media such as podcasts and its TikTok channel, which was launched on 5 August.

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