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News Reports

The case of the philandering parliamentarian

Okay, so who’s the woman? I sound like a tabloid journalist, I know. But, hey, everybody wants to know who’s the PA staffer who caught Michael Palmer’s eye. The works, please. Everything about the Palmer marriage as well. With pictures. Can the media oblige?

I am assuming there’s no unwanted interference from up above. And I am asking in the spirit of fairness vis-à-vis the Yaw Shin Leong affair of not too long ago. One thing, I am glad about… so far online media has labelled it an extra-marital affair and not some euphemism like “indiscretion’’.

I sound terrible. Like some bloodsucker from now-defunct News of the World. But everyone deserves “fair’’ treatment or the media will be unfair. Yaw Shin Leong must be laughing his socks off somewhere now that the boot is truly on the other foot…and it’s finally dropped. On the PAP.

I suppose the defence the PAP will come up with is to compare not the two ex-MPs, but the way the two parties approached the issue of a philandering parliamentarian. Like, Palmer admitted it and said sorry. Like, we worked faster, even called a press conference. Like, we quickly made plans on how to “cover’’ his duties. Like, we know Michael Palmer; he’s no Yaw Shin Leong.

Then again, I suppose Workers’ Party would be pretty quick too to go on the attack. Who would be able to resist it? It shows that despite whatever the PAP says about itself, the men in white aren’t so spotless. Like, what did the PAP say again about its selection process compared to ours? Like, he ain’t just an MP, he’s the Speaker of Parliament, for crying out loud! Like, we were tough and sacked Yaw, Palmer quit with your blessings. Like, when’s the by-election?

Gosh. Could Singapore be having yet another by-election? Seems to me the PM is in a pretty difficult position. Never mind that we sorted out this question of whether holding a by-election is at his discretion – it is. The fact is that the Hougang BE set a precedent. A single-seat ward was vacated by a sitting MP, not a GRC slot where the excuse for not holding one would be that the other GRC MPs can cover his duties.

Of course, the Hougang ward did not belong to the PAP and it was therefore a prime opportunity for the PAP to get it back from the WP. Palmer vacated Punggol East, yet another single seat ward, but this time belonging to the PAP. It wouldn’t look good on the PM at all if he exercised his discretion to NOT hold a BE there. Even if he argues that he’s already assigned Teo Ser Luck to look after constituents. (BTW, the PAP has quite a handful of full-time MPs now – why not one of them?)

I’m sorry that this has happened to Palmer, who overturned the conventional wisdom that a non-Chinese would not be able to carry a single-seat ward. Well, he did and he should be a poster boy for the Abolish GRC brigade.

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I am sorry that this happened to Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament, because he should have a stricter code of conduct than the parliamentarians he presides over, and because he represents the Singapore Parliament to parliamentary delegates from other countries. I am not sure but I think he sometimes doubles up for the President as well…

I am most sorry for his wife and kid. When men are naughty, their women suffer. Just ask Mrs Ng Boon Gay.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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