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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

News Reports

The case of the philandering parliamentarian Part 2

Ooh…I really loved ST’s intro on the Michael Palmer affair: BARELY a year after a much- heralded appointment as Speaker of Parliament, Mr Michael Palmer’s ebullient political career ended in ignominy.

I advocate simple writing, but it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have style. Not often have I seen the words ebullient and ignominy in a local story.

As expected, everybody went to town on the matter and much that was reported in the morning today I’ve already known from the online crowd before 10pm last night. BUT, go buy TNP!

Wow! It actually had some SMSes between Palmer and his lady friend sent to the newsroom on Saturday, the day of the confession.  They weren’t lurid or saucy like the Ng Boon Gay and Cecilia Sue exchange. They were more like what a courting couple would send to each other. Still, it would explain why the PAP was in a hurry to tell all quickly. There’s the threat of exposure a la Yaw Shin Leong style. The men-in-white would have wanted to be prepared well for this eventuality and wash their dirty linen quickly before someone else does the laundry for them.

So, the questions then:

  1. Did TNP check on the tip off and drew a blank on the PAP side? Or did it dismiss it as some prankster?
  2. Did TNP trace its source and have it verified? No, I am not asking for the source which TNP should protect. Just want to know that the text messages are not the actions of romance novelist…
  3. Is this what the PAP is afraid would happen? That word would get out? Frankly, the source must be pretty resourceful or well-connected to get such screen grabs. I would have thought only certain agencies would have been able to compel such things.
  4. What’s this thing about “Monday’’ that keeps popping up in text messages? Rendezvous day? Just curious…

Anyway, it’s clear that the media is obeying/respecting the wishes of Palmer, DPM Teo and PM Lee to leave the Palmer family alone. I mean, you catch the wife at the party branch and you didn’t talk to her? And no pictures of the meeting at Punggol East PAP branch which she attended? I’ll have to buy Shin Min and Wanbao later to see if they toed the line too.

A piece of unsolicited advice for Mrs Palmer: Give the media a one-line statement to satisfy the people who want to hear from you. Then, the media would feel better about leaving you alone. And the curious and unsavoury people (me included) would have a bone to chew over. Serious.

As for the PA staffer who’s been identified, I hope she’s left town. She had several days to do so anyway. Also the “respect privacy’’ plea doesn’t seem to have applied to her. She is the “other’’ woman. I also noticed that TNP didn’t name her husband although it gave details of how they met and the businesses he ran. Perhaps, this is because they were already separated pre-Palmer. ST did though. Poor thing. He doesn’t deserve the spotlight.

What’s next then?

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  1. A Speaker has to be properly named. It’s now Charles Chong stepping up to the plate Palmer vacated. So is he going to go full-time or will a new Speaker be named? Is the Speaker coming from the backbenches or appointed from outside, as is allowed?
  2. How long will it take for the PM to “consider carefully’’ whether he will hold a by-election in Punggol East? How snap can snap be? You know, given our campaign period, you can conceivably squeeze in the event about the year end/year beginning, which used to be a favourite time for elections. Or you could squeeze it in between the January release of the Population report and the Budget statement. Frankly, I realise that the report etc are big national issues that should occupy the minds of politicians and the people. But, hey, they are going to be distracted if this BE isn’t held.
  3. What’s Palmer going to do? Good thing he’s a lawyer and so is his wife, who quit to look after the home. I guess there’s little worry on that front. But what is the poor PA woman going to do….do a bunk like Amy Cheong? Except that she’s Singaporean and has a mother and a younger sister here.

Anyway, who would have thought there would be so much sex in sanitary Singapore?


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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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