Singaporean Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer yesterday announced his resignation after confessing he had an extramarital affair with a community worker, setting off a fresh sex scandal in the city-state.
Palmer, 44, a married father of one, also quit his seat in parliament and membership of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP).
Revealing that he “had a relationship” with a staff member of a community organization called the People’s Association, Palmer, who is a lawyer, said he was “deeply sorry” to his supporters, the PAP as well as his family.
The association’s chairman is Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), who is also secretary-general of the PAP.
Lee quickly announced he had accepted Palmer’s resignation, saying members of parliament have to uphold the highest standards of conduct.
“It is necessary that all PAP MPs and advisors to grassroots organizations uphold the highest standards of personal conduct, especially in dealings with constituents, grassroots activists and staff, and that the party be seen to hold its MPs and advisors to these standards,” the prime minister said in a letter to Palmer accepting the resignation, and posted on Lee’s Facebook page.
Palmer said he made a “grave mistake” of improper conduct after being involved in a relationship with a member of a government agency who worked in a district he used to represent, Today newspaper reported.
The resignation is the latest high-profile case involving an affair in the city following the prosecution of former heads of the anti-drug agency and Civil Defense Force, for allegedly accepting sexual favors from female executives seeking contracts. More than 40 people, including a former bank executive and a school principal, were charged in a scandal earlier this year involving a minor selling sex to men.
Palmer told a press conference yesterday that his conduct was improper and it was a serious error of judgement, according to the newspaper.
The speaker of parliament presides over the sittings by lawmakers. Palmer was the eighth speaker of parliament and was elected in October last year for the position, according to the parliament’s Web site.
Palmer holds a seat in the Punggol East ward, a single-seat constituency, suggesting Singaporeans in the district would have to go to the polls to elect a new representative. Politicians in Singapore compete in single-seat wards or multiple-seat districts called Group Representation Constituencies.
Singaporeans voted in a by-election in May this year after a member of parliament from the opposition Workers’ Party was expelled from his party for “indiscretions in his private life.” The Workers’ Party retained its seat in the by-election.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread