Sylvia Lim's note that sank Pritam
All of the Workers' Party leaders have scored own goals - but the note delivered by Sylvia Lim could be the end of Pritam in politics.
The final COP report is out and, admittedly, I haven't read the full 300+ pages. Fortunately, however, other smart people have managed to dig through it (h/t Renson Seow) and extracted the most interesting bits, some of which were also highlighted by the media.
Out of all of them, one stands out to me.
Most of the evidence suggesting that Pritam Singh lied to the committee is circumstantial. In other words - it's not hard proof but it would require extraordinary circumstances for it to have been otherwise (e.g. his inaction for 2 months, suggestions that Raeesah may not have been of sound mind writing the WhatsApp message to her aides on Aug. 8 or that he told her to tell the truth on Oct. 3rd, without actually saying it).
But the thing that tips the scales is the note taken by Sylvia Lim during WP's own Disciplinary Panel proceedings, which she voluntarily passed to COP.
It cites Pritam saying to Raeesah:
PS: "Before Oct session, I met you + I told you it was your call. Did need to tell the truth in Parliament occur to you?"
The exchange that followed...
RK: "Yes but consumed with guilt + own experience. Thought it wouldn’t come up."
PS: "Can’t lie right?"
...may seem to absolve Pritam of ill will but the crucial element is the admission to the "it was your call" advice, followed by a question about whether the need to tell the truth occurred to Raeesah.
It is important as it is a rare written piece of evidence showing not only that Raeesah did not take Pritam's advice as an instruction to tell the truth but that he was clearly ambiguous, leaving it to her to make the final decision during parliamentary sitting in October.
This is doubly valuable, as it comes directly from Sylvia Lim, so it cannot be questioned like Raeesah's and her aides' testimonies have been.
In addition, it supports circumstantial evidence that Pritam was insincere with COP and tried to shift the blame on others, despite lack of hard proof, documents, notes or anything else that would back his version of the story.
Ironically, the only things that WP leaders have provided do the exact opposite.
As if that wasn't enough, Faisal Manap's refusal to answer questions (which he clearly misunderstood) doesn't exactly help the cause - particularly as he struggled to give precise dates of the meetings between WP leaders ahead of their hearings, which happened in the preceding days (what suggests that he may have been coached what to say and did not know how to respond to anything that hadn't been rehearsed).
This, I'm sure, will be a part of the incoming inquiry by the Public Prosecutor.
Of course, the funniest thing in all of this is that it's just a remarkable string of own goals by the party's leaders. Starting with fielding inexperienced, young, woke Raeesah - and then one blunder after another in front of the COP.
Pritam may have briefly regained some of the melting public popularity after oratory spars with Edwin Tong but as the emotion died down it's quite clear where the facts lie - and his colleagues at the party's top haven't exactly helped the cause.
The spectacle is far from over, of course. I'm sure the Parliament will vote to appoint a Public Prosecutor and Pritam will now have the opportunity to defend himself legally (though the fact that Faisal is about to receive a similar treatment will certainly hurt more than help).
This must be one of the most spectacular examples proving the meme slogan "get woke, go broke" in politics anywhere in the world.
Tune in for Season 2 this spring! 🍿