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Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 is the year of corruption and extra marital affairs scandals....a.k.a the downfall of many Men and Women...


Michael Palmer's news hit yesterday but I didn't want to blog about it yet because I didn't want to record it down on this auspicious date.


Michael Palmer
Name : Mr Michael Palmer (Resigned on 12 December 2012)
CV : Click here to view the CV
For address, telephone and email details, please click here.
Michael Palmer is a Singaporean politician and lawyer. A member of the governing People's Action Party, he is the Speaker of the House in the Parliament of Singapore. Wikipedia
Born: July 14, 1968 (age 44), Singapore
Party: People's Action Party

Here's a timeline:

First seen on Channel NewsAsia Singapore's Facebook:
BREAKING: Michael Palmer, Speaker of Parliament and PAP MP for Punggol East SMC has resigned as Speaker and also from the Party, due to an improper relationship with a People's Association staff working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC.

The official video announcing his Resignation:

Our PM and Secretary General of PAP - Mr. Lee Hsien Loong's reaction is to put Michael's resignation letter and his reply on facebook.

WP's reaction is to identify the need for a By-Election in Punggol East SMC:

The lady from PA being identified:

“Ms Laura Ong, Constituency Director of Pasir Ris West Constituency Office tendered her resignation on 10 Dec 12, citing family commitments. The People’s Association has accepted her resignation.”

More Pictures:

No guarantee on a by-election but it will be decided after careful consideration:

Intimate SMSes and e-mails allegedly exchanged between Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer and People's Association (PA) member Laura Ong have surfaced, following Mr Palmer's resignation on Wednesday over his extramarital affair with Ms Ong.

The messages suggested an intimate relationship between the two, which included regular Monday meetings.

One message, which seemed to have been sent to Ms Ong's smartphone, reads: "Hello darling... I love you loads. More than I sometimes show... Sorry. Love love," while another one says: "But you can't judge our relationship by just what happens on Monday"

A message, apparently sent by Ms Ong to Mr Palmer, says: "You may not have noticed, but every time we meet on Mondays, the kisses are lesser... the time we spend getting intimate is also lesser."

There was also a message confirming a booking at the Fairmont Singapore.

More information on The New Paper today.

A good summary by The Online Citizen:

What is by now widely known online as Palmergate has the makings of the most choreographed and well-executed public relations plan.

Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer resigned in a matter of four days, as we learnt about his confession to the Prime Minister on 8 December. Yet the letters between him and the PM hardly skipped a beat, cut almost as if from the same mould, and were even dated on the same day.

The media conference was just as well executed, with a solemn apology by Palmer and a polite request not to disturb his family. It was an almost pleasant exit, and the People's Action Party seems almost too eager to say "he has apologised, let's move on".

While we might choose to sympathise with a repentant Palmer, who has not demonstrated failure in serving his constituents and unlike his colleagues have refrained from making politically suicidal statements, the full measure of the announcement has missed one important question: Was the relationship he had with the Peoples' Association staff member a lawful one, or was there dirty money or underhand business involved in this case?

To be clear, we are not interested in Palmer’s sexual indiscretion – that is a matter between him, his family and God. But nowhere in the official letters, statements and responses was there an unquestionable indication that it was only an extramarital affair.

Instead, Palmer’s former colleague and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean insisted many times during the media conference that “these are details that we do not need to go into. The important thing is that Mr Palmer has acknowledged his mistake, he has resigned to take full responsibility, and that is the proper thing to do.”

Oddly, we are asked to trust that the PAP did the right thing, without knowing the full extent of the what they are asking our confidence for.

Many are already comparing this case with that of Workers’ Party’s Yaw Shin Leong. Comparatively, WP did not get a direct answer from Yaw about his sexual indiscretion, despite many attempts at getting him to come clean. For better or worse, WP has opted to sack him, and immediately asked for a by-election to affirm the people’s confidence in the party.
Still, blissfully unaware or choosing not to care, the PAP then ignored the key question that its institutional memory should have found impossible to forget: When would a by-election be called? Instead, Teo opted to side-step the question, deferring it to the PM to decide on whether to call a by-election or not. His stand was further supported by the PM.

In the aftermath of the Hougang SMC by-election, the PAP should have guessed that this would have been the question on everyone’s mind. It should have come to the table prepared with a clear yes or no. Being elusive does it no favours and insults the people’s intelligence.

In truth, this case is indicative of the double standards that the PAP still applies to politics in Singapore, accepted by an obliging traditional media that, while not shy about harassing Yaw, chose to give the PAP a wide berth. The PAP has called for full disclosure, blood and more for Yaw, but has not been as transparent in how it deals with its own party members.
Palmer’s resignation does not, and should not, be any excuse or pacification for why the PAP continues to choose opacity.

In any case, the WP is now waiting at the gates, spoiling for a fight. And guess what, the PAP deserves every bit of the pressure.

As highlighted on:

"I am not saying: 'No, let us be celibate. I am not even asking that all be faithful to our wives. Let us have no divorces. I do not ask that.
All I ask is, please do not misbehave yourself.
Anybody who has a paternity suit against him, he is out and there will be a by-election."

- Lee Kuan Yew in 1977, Parliamentary speech


[UPDATE Thursday 13/12 109pm: Adding details of relationship between Laura Ong, Michael Palmer]

Just how and why did the Michael Palmer affair come to light?

The Thursday edition of local tabloid The New Paper suggests the affair that led to Palmer's resignation as Speaker and Member of Parliament came to light because he had been discovered and on the verge of being exposed.

SMS and email exchanges sent to the paper by an anonymous source on Saturday -- the same day  Palmer came forward and confessed to DPM Teo Chee Hean -- showed he and his lover, Laura Ong, were in an intimate relationship.

One SMS read, "Hello darling... I love you loads. More than I sometimes show... Sorry. Love love". 

Other email exchanges showed the pair met up regularly on Mondays and that Palmer had given gifts to Ong, a former constituency director with the People's Association.

UPDATE (8:45pm 12 Dec 2012. PA responds to queries on Michael Palmer incident, says a Ms Laura Ong has resigned.)

Speaker of Parliament and Member of Parliament Michael Palmer has resigned from both posts due to an "improper relationship" with a People's Association (PA) staff member in his constituency.

Punggol East MP Palmer said he was resigning to avoid "further embarrassment" and he took "full responsibility" for the "grave mistake".

"I am deeply sorry, and apologise unreservedly to consituents and family," he said during a hastily arranged press conference for selected media only at the PAP's Bedok headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

"While the individual did not work with me directly, Punggol East used to be part of the Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and continues to work with it," said Palmer, reported Today newspaper.

The staff member, who was working in the Pasir Ris Punggol GRC, has also reportedly resigned.

In a note to editors, the PA said in response to media enquiries on the Palmer incident that "Ms Laura Ong, constituency director of Pasir Ris West Constituency Office tendered her resignation on 10 Dec 12, citing family commitments." PA said it accepted the resignation.

However, when contacted by Yahoo! Singapore, several of Ong's colleagues at Pasir Ris Elias Community Club were not aware that she had resigned. Two said she was currently on leave but expected her to be coming back to work after her leave.

Palmer, a former St Andrews alumni, was elected as the MP for Punggol after defeating candidates from the Workers' Party and the Singapore Democratic Alliance during the 2011 May general election.

The 44-year-old lawyer, who is married with one child, did not take a question from a reporter on how this would affect his marriage and his wife's reaction, according to a tweet from @TODAYonline

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who appeared alongside Palmer at the press conference, said the party first found out about the matter on Saturday and that Palmer offered to resign on the same evening.

DPM Teo, also the PAP's first assistant secretary-general, apologised to residents of Punggol East and said, "We will put things right and continue to look after you."

Teo Ser Luck will take over Palmer's MP role in the constituency, while Charles Chong will take over the role of Acting Speaker of Parliament.

Palmer's resignation comes on the back of a series of high-profile sex scandals involving politicians and top civil servants in the past year.

Former Workers' Party MP Yaw Shin Leong, who was elected to Hougang SMC in last year's election, was expelled from the party in February over allegations of marital infidelity.

Former Central Narcotics Bureau chief Ng Boon Gay and former Singapore civil defence chief Peter Lim are also facing jail time over sex-related corruption charges. 

Palmer's resignation from the PAP also raises the prospect of another by-election in the single-member constituency of Punggol East.

Andy Lim might have been the one who exposed Laura and Michael's affair?

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