I think Michael Palmer and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean carried themselves well today at the press conference where Palmer announced his resignation as Speaker of Parliament and MP for Punggol (East) following an extramarital affair.
They did not answer some of the questions, but I think it is natural for Palmer to wish for privacy. His political career is over, he has had to leave the ruling People’s Action Party, his family has been hurt. Why not give him some peace?
The same goes for the People’s Association staff member with whom he had an affair and who had to resign as well.
Both have been reprimanded implicitly by the Prime Minister who has said PAP MPs, advisers and grassroots workers should uphold the highest standards of personal conduct. They have suffered public embarrassment.
In other countries, the media would dig deeper into the affair. People would want to know how it happened, Since Palmer was an MP and the Speaker of Parliament, he is a figure of public interest.
But affairs like this should be reported sensitively. What would we gain by knowing all the details? It would merely satisfy our curiosity about something that’s in the news at the moment. It’s unlikely our interest would last very long.
Who now talks about Steve Tan, the PAP candidate for Tanjong Pagar GRC who dropped out of the 2011 general election at the last minute?
His name came to mind only because Deputy PM Teo at the press conference today said the PAP chose its people carefully. But, as he said, problems do occur.