29 December 2012 09:00 | By Ang Kai Fong
Singapore's top newsmakers of 2012

Michael Palmer

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7. Michael Palmer

With his shock resignation on Dec 12, former Parliamentary Speaker and MP Michael Palmer became the second person this year to leave his seat for personal indiscretions, in the latest sex scandal to hit our usually clean and conservative city-state.

The 44-year-old married father of one publicly confessed to a “serious judgement of error” – “I had a relationship with a member of the People’s Association staff working in Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC,” he revealed.

Palmer said he resigned “to avoid further embarrassment to the People’s Action Party (PAP) and to Parliament".

His lover was identified as 33-year-old Laura Ong, who quickly became the target of online attacks. A local report two days later revealed that Ong, who is married but separated from her husband, was also dating another man during her alleged one-year affair with Palmer. Speculation was rife that Ong’s boyfriend was the whistleblower.

A Punggol East by-election?

Talks also turned to the possibility of a by-election in the newly vacated Punggol East single-seat, which the PM has addressed and said he would “carefully consider”.

Should it happen, the by-election looks set to have at least six candidates – a representative each from the ruling PAP, Workers’ Party, Reform Party, Singapore Democratic Alliance and the Singapore Democratic Party, as well as former Singapore People’s Party member Benjamin Pwee.

More on the Michael Palmer affair: http://news.xin.msn.com/en/the-michael-palmer-affair

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