Who Is Pritam Singh? Singapore Opposition Leader Facing Grave Charges Of Manipulation And Lying | World News

NEW DELHI: In a significant development from Singapore, Pritam Singh, the Leader of the Opposition and a key figure in the Workers’ Party (WP), has landed in troubled waters. Charged with perjury before a parliamentary committee, Singh faces accusations that could have profound implications for his political career and the broader opposition landscape in Singapore.

Who Is Pritam Singh?

Born on August 2, 1976, Pritam Singh has emerged as a central figure in Singaporean politics. As the Secretary-General of the Workers’ Party since 2018 and the Leader of the Opposition since 2020, Singh’s political career has been marked by significant milestones. A lawyer and author by profession, he has represented the Eunos division of Aljunied GRC as a Member of Parliament since 2011, showcasing a commitment to his constituents and the nation’s democratic processes.

Educational And Professional Journey

Singh’s academic achievements underscore his intellectual rigour, having graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Arts in History, where he was awarded the Straits Steamship Prize for his outstanding performance. His pursuit of knowledge continued with a Master of Arts in War Studies from King’s College London, supported by a Chevening Scholarship. Singh’s legal acumen was further honed at the Singapore Management University, leading to his admission to the bar and subsequent practice at Donaldson & Burkinshaw.

The Allegations At Hand

The charges against Singh stem from his testimony during the Committee of Privileges hearings, which focused on the actions of former MP Raeesah Khan. Specifically, Singh is accused of misleading the committee on two counts, related to discussions with Khan and other WP members about her statements in Parliament. These allegations have led to a pre-trial conference scheduled for April 17, highlighting the seriousness with which the authorities are treating the case.

The Root Of The Controversy

Central to this controversy is Raeesah Khan’s admission of having lied to Parliament about a rape case, an issue that prompted a detailed investigation by the Committee of Privileges. Singh’s defence during the parliamentary debate challenged the committee’s findings, asserting that he never instructed Khan to conceal the truth. However, the committee’s final report paints a different picture, suggesting Singh played a pivotal role in the saga.

Political Ramifications And Next Steps

The case against Pritam Singh has stirred debates about the treatment of MPs facing legal challenges. Grace Fu, organizing secretary of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), emphasized that Parliament would not prejudge Singh’s case, highlighting the principle of due process. “Parliament should not prejudge the outcome of the proceedings,” said People’s Action Party organising secretary Grace Fu. In a media statement, Grace Fu said there have been queries about whether the party will, through its Members of Parliament, be seeking to suspend Singh given that he has been formally charged. The outcome of this case could lead to significant consequences for Singh, including potential imprisonment or a fine, and by extension, impact his ability to serve in Parliament.

Channel News Asia cited Fu as saying that the party will not comment on the merits of the case as it is now before the courts. Following Singh’s charging on Tuesday, Fu said, ”Parliament must deal rigorously with any MP who has committed wrongdoing, but suspending an MP is a serious action that must be done in accordance with due process of the law and natural justice. Parliament should not prejudge the outcome of the proceedings.”

What May Happen To Singh?

If convicted, Singh may be jailed for up to three years or fined up to SGD 7,000 per charge. He requested a four-week adjournment to engage a lawyer. Under laws passed in May 2022, a person is disqualified from standing for election to become an MP, while a sitting MP will lose their seat if they are jailed for at least one year or fined at least S$10,000. The disqualification lasts for five years.

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