A Singaporean parliamentary committee tasked with probing a lying scandal involving the opposition Workers’ Party has recommended a fine for the ex-MP Raeesah Khan and the possibility of criminal prosecution for party chief Pritam Singh. The parliamentary Committee of Privileges’ recommendation to take Khan, 29, to task for lying in the legislature was widely expected following proceedings that stretched back to early December. The decision to refer Pritam Singh, the Workers’ Party chief to the public prosecutor for possibly breaking the law during his testimony before the committee, however, was indicative that the worst was not over for his small but ascendant party. The committee’s recommendations must be approved by parliament, which next sits on Monday. The committee is made up of seven members of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong , and one MP from the Workers’ Party. Observers had earlier suggested that the matter, initially seen as minor, was snowballing into a potential “existential crisis” for the party. Singapore politician admits lying to parliament over police rape investigation In a 319-page released on Thursday, the committee said it was recommending a fine of S$35,000 (US$26,000) for Raeesah for lying in two separate sittings in parliament between August and October last year. The committee added that it was “satisfied” that Singh and two other heavyweights of the Workers’ Party had been “ untruthful in their evidence, under oath”. Singh has gained prominence nationally after the Workers’ Party won 10 out of 93 seats in the 2020 general election – the best result for an opposition in the country since the 1960s. As a result, Prime Minister Lee conferred Singh the position of Leader of the Opposition . Ruled without interruption by the PAP since 1959, Singapore has not had a formal leader of the opposition since its independence. In a Facebook statement, Singh said there was a possibility that he and another party leader and MP, Faisal Abdul Manap, might lose their seats if they were convicted of wrongdoing. Under Singapore law an MP loses their seat if they are convicted of an offence that entails a fine of more than S$2,000 or a one-year jail term. “Assuming Parliament adopts the Committee’s recommendations, there remain a number of unknowns,” Singh wrote. He added: “These include the eventual decision of the Public Prosecutor to prosecute, the intervening time before the matter goes to trial, the eventual verdict and any sentence meted out, and the prospect of both Faisal and I losing our parliamentary seats and stepping down as Members of Parliament if either of us is fined S$2,000 or more.” The former lawyer said he would “speak more extensively” on the committee’s report when it is tabled, as expected, next week. The committee said while it had the prerogative to impose sanctions on Singh having found that he had misled the committee, it was choosing not to do so until any criminal proceeding is dispensed with. “Given the seriousness of the matter, it appears to us best, in this case, that it be dealt with through a trial process, rather than by Parliament alone,” it said, adding that the public prosecutor could consider all evidence and Singh would be able to defend and vindicate himself during court proceedings. Singapore opposition MP Raeesah Khan resigns after lying in parliament The saga involves remarks Raeesah first made last August about accompanying a sexual assault victim to the police station during a debate on gender equality . Raeesah had accused the police of handling the matter insensitively. She was later pressed for details of the visit so the police officer’s conduct could be investigated but Raeesah demurred, saying she did not want to again traumatise the victim and also wasn’t able to contact her. She repeated the untruth in October, and only came clean on November 1. In her confession, she said she had taken the anecdote from a women’s support group she attended, and did not have the victim’s consent to share this account publicly. Raeesah said she herself had been sexually assaulted at the age of 18 while studying overseas, which is why she had attended the group session. She suggested that this experience influenced the way she narrated the anecdote, saying in a tearful speech that she did not have the courage to report her own assault. Can Singapore’s opposition Workers’ Party ride out lying lawmaker scandal? The women’s rights activist was part of a four-member team that ousted a PAP team composed of experienced political office-holders from the Sengkang constituency, home to a large number of young families. Following her November confession, the PAP-dominated parliament resolved to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges. Khan quit the Workers’ Party and her MP’s seat before the start of the proceedings. In its report, the committee took a particularly scathing tone on Singh and said the other Workers’ Party leaders who appeared before it were comparatively more cooperative during the proceedings. “Mr Singh appears to have played the key and leading role in guiding Ms Khan in respect of the Untruth. He was, by all accounts, the key orchestrator of the circumstances which led to the 4 Oct Untruth,” the committee said. The committee also recommended that Faisal, vice-chair of the Workers’ Party, be referred to the public prosecutor for refusing to answer what it said were relevant questions during the hearings. Parliament sits on Monday (February 14) and is likely to debate the recommendations of the committee. Raeesah’s recommended fine includes S$25,000 for stating an untruth in Parliament on August 3 and an additional S$10,000 for repeating it on October 4. Past parliamentary censures of lawmakers for lying include a 1996 episode when Chee Soon Juan, then a non-constituency MP, made false submissions before a Select Committee alleging that government health expenditure had fallen drastically from 40 per cent to just 5 per cent. Chee and his three other Singapore Democratic Party colleagues were charged by the parliamentary committee of privileges for “deliberately falsifying data and misleading the public”. Chee was found to have been in contempt of parliament and fined S$25,000. In 1986, another firebrand opposition leader, J. B. Jeyaretnam, was found guilty of breaching parliamentary privilege and contempt and fined S$26,000. No lawmaker has been referred to prosecutors for their conduct in the legislature in recent times. In a commentary for The Straits Times on Tuesday, Singapore Management University law professor Eugene Tan suggested the best practice was for parliament to regulate its own conduct. “Simply put, parliamentary privilege is meaningless without parliamentary independence,” said Tan. “No branch of government has an overruling influence over the others, and each has the necessary means to resist encroachment from the others,” he said.