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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Palmer’

Staying safe in Punggol East

In News Reports, Politics on January 22, 2013 at 7:18 am

First, a confession. I am relying mainly on MSM news reports and my FB feeds to get news of the by-election. I read so much about the candidates offering practically their lives to get elected. I know so much about their backgrounds. I know what they want to do for those lucky Punggol East people. I suppose this is what a by-election is about.

But I wonder about why no one is talking about the big stuff or impending big stuff. I don’t mean the usual complaints about high transport, health and housing costs but the stuff that people are talking about and want to hear about. And I don’t mean general stuff like whether we need more opposition voices in Parliament. (BTW, I thought SDA’s Desmond Lim paid a huge tribute to the Workers’ Party by calling it a dominant party. He wants to be the third voice in a two-voice Parliament. Diversity of views, I suppose.)

Anyway, here is my own list of “missing’’ issues:

a. Why is no one talking about AIM, that PAP-run company that does the town councils’ books? Is everyone waiting for the National Development ministry to finish its report – and then comment? Is it the worry about incomplete information which might get them into trouble? I know WP withdrew its motion and I praised the move. But you know, I think any political party can speak about the subject at a time of election – especially whether town councils are “political’’ associations. And give its own take about the “fundamental nature’’ of town councils which even the PM wants studied.

b. No one is really getting into Palmergate, at least not the way Yaw Shin Leong’s character was dissected in the Hougang BE. Maybe because he’s too popular with residents to be raised as an issue? Then what about the more general qualities expected of a political representative? I mean, the seat fell vacant because of his indiscretion. So how come there’s no comment on it?

c. The immigrant issue. I suppose more childcare centres, covered linkways and bus services are “safe’’ topics. But what about this nagging, niggling problem we have about the foreigners in our midst? Companies say they are suffering because of the squeeze on foreign labour, NGOs think that the G doesn’t treat foreign workers right. And some of the comments being heard are outright xenophobic or racist. We still need foriegners, never mind the $2billion Population package announced yesterday that won’t have us replacing ourselves any time soon. So where do the parties stand on the immigration issue? Too hot a topic?

d. Then there are the constitutional challenges coming up pretty soon, such as on the PM’s right to call or not call a by-election, which must surely be something parties can take a stand on? Or is it because they think they might run foul of the court? Surely, this is something that also falls within the political arena?

e. Now, there’s a row between pro-Section 377a and anti-Section 377a on the criminalisation of homosexual acts. I hope the politicians are not so busy campaigning that they do not notice the heightened tensions and some hysteria online. Religion is getting political. What a dangerous mix which I thought the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act was designed to separate…or am I wrong? Questions are coming up on freedom of expression – both pro-gay and anti-gay. Politicians are being courted to take sides. So many issues here …or is this considered too explosive a mix to bring to the public’s attention? Maybe, again, everyone is waiting again for the court to rule.

Anyway, that’s just my one cent worth. Maybe what the voters really really want to know is exactly when (give exact date please) Rivervale Plaza will be fully ready.

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A political performance

In News Reports, Politics on January 20, 2013 at 12:38 am

Go buy The Sunday Times. If only to read Zuraidah Ibrahim’s piece on her experience covering elections in Singapore and what has or hasn’t changed. I love it when the veterans write, because they have institutional memory to draw upon and can give far greater context to events than a newbie reporter, however smart he or she is.

Those who are older and have followed politics over the years will recognise some of what she wrote, like former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s assertion that opposition-run town councils will lead to your rubbish chutes being clogged (I haven’t heard of this happening yet).

Or what he would have done to SDP’s Chee Soon Juan who once heckled then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in public asking “Where is our money?’’ (By the way, Mr Goh, when taunted, made a show of looking into his shirt pocket). I guessed Mr Lee would have decked Dr Chee instead (Now, that would have been an event worth capturing for the record!)

You might remember too the crowds who turned up at Eunos GRC rallies to hear the dapper lawyer Francis Seow, Singapore’s one-time Solicitor-General, who stood on the Workers’ Party platform, castigating the PAP government as a bunch of “eunuchs’’.

More recently, at the GE before the last, there was this dramatic scene of a harried court officer who had to mount the rally stage to deliver Dr Chee a summons. He and Dr Chee had been playing hide-and-seek all day.

Ms Ibrahim described election time as Singapore without the make-up. It’s also politics un-plugged, methinks. What I have always remembered when covering past elections is not quite what the candidates said at rallies, but how they treated people during their rounds. Ms Ibrahim referred to Dr Seet Ai Mee’s “chop chop’’ efficiency during her rounds of Bukit Gombak during one GE and SDP’s Ling How Doong’s more avuncular style. The people picked him. Electability is also about likeability. Whether that likeability translates into real ability as a member of Parliament, however, is something else.

Here’s a suggestion on assessing an MP’s performance.

Each MP should put up a yearly account to their constituents of what they did or said in Parliament. How many sessions did they turn up for? How many Bills did they vote on – and what did they say about them in Parliament? How many questions did they ask from ministers – both oral and written. What sort of answers did they get – and did the questions work in getting things done?

I’m sure (or almost sure) that every MP keeps some kind of record or at least their legislative assistants did (how many have such assistants anyway?)

I think this keeps constituents politically attuned and keeps the MPs accountable. Simply saying vote for me again (I am looking ahead to the next GE) because I am kind, good, committed etc and my party has done what and what… isn’t good enough. Thing is, what have YOU done lately for me as my voice in Parliament?

This yearly accounting could also include attendance at Meet-the-People sessions and the issues raised. The Prime Minister earlier this week gave his own report card for his Teck Ghee residents. I found it useful, because it gives citizens an idea of the issues that affect the people who need help. It’s probably only half a barometer of people’s worries – because the middle-class are more likely to take matters into their own hands than seek a petition from the MP. Now can the other MPs do the same? Or collectively as a party? The Workers’ Party too. If we want to have a Singapore Conversation, it would be good to know the real worries of the people, especially those who are down and out.

Now, back to the by-election. Some random thoughts, some of which are tongue-in-cheek and some not. Leave you to go figure.

a. PM Lee said Dr Koh Poh Koon could be more than an MP if elected. I think he said the same for defeated Aljunied GRC candidate Ong Ye Kung too.

b. Reform Party’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam will give one tenth of his annual MP allowance, SDA’s Desmond Lim will give one-third. I waiting to hear from WP’s Lee Li Lian and Dr Koh…

c. ST reported that WP had to defend itself from criticisms of its parliamentary performance at rallies -that they were too soft on the PAP. Thing is, I don’t think I have read anything, at least not in MSM, about WP being too soft and should have whacked harder.

d. ST reported WP’s Sylvia Lim saying that some things are submitted to G (alternative suggestions on certain policies)behind “closed doors’’. Goodness! That sounds too cosy a relationship! Why not tell the rest of us what they were?

e. Both WP and PAP candidates and their supporters are trying desperately hard to paint the candidates as “real’’ people. I suppose they are thinking about the likeability factor.

f. Given the “local’’ issues in the ward – not enough coffeeshops, ever-upgrading Rivervale Paza, lack of childcare, bus services – do they make you feel like ex-MP Michael Palmer had been sleeping on the job? No pun intended.

g. Kenneth Jeyaretnam has filed a police report about threats to his family. Desmond Lim has threatened to sue those who are asking if his volunteers were “paid’’. I haven’t heard anything about police reports and law suits emanating from the PAP. Yet?

h. TNP reported that Punggol-east residents are tired of shaking hands and having their quiet estate disrupted by by-election activities. I think the more important question should be: Are they intending to go to the rallies? Or is that crowd at night with feet in muddy waters merely gawkers and sight-seers who cannot influence the vote? (They make for nice pictures though)

i. Finally, does Ms Lee Li Lian mind being called Ah Lian?

Singapore politics: Alive and kicking

In News Reports, Politics on January 15, 2013 at 1:06 am

I wonder why PAP’s Koh Poh Koon is talking about sympathy votes at all. Does he really think talking about his growing up days will make people feel sorry for him and vote him in? A bit salah.

If that’s the case we should be feeling sorry for too many people with a rags-to-middle class past. Sounds like reverse psychology to me. It’s more likely that people will consider his rise from son of a bus driver to being a medical surgeon very commendable. He is an example of a meritocratic society at work – although, as he himself admits, he’s not sure that the system will continue working for the next generation the way it has worked for him.

I wish he would say more about education as a social leveller. He did so over the weekend, but I would be interested to know how he thinks the system should be maintained so that young people can move up the ladder through the system – the way he did. He made all the right noises, well aimed at the younger folks in Punggol East who have young children. Now let’s hear some more, or perhaps, a solution, from him.

So now he is being pitted against Workers’ Party’s Lee Li Lian. I wonder why people are surprised at the choice. It makes you think about us – our attitude and expectations as a people. Most thought that that the party would put up a credentialed candidate or as former WP member Eric Tan said “fall into the elitist trap’’. The WP didn’t.

It’s an inspired choice. Ms Lee looks as different as she can get from the PAP candidate. In fact, she looks like a heartlander – and probably wouldn’t have to make much of that because she looks so “believable’’. Plus, she really does seem more like a Daughter of Punggol, although wisely, she doesn’t label herself so. Married with no children, but not ruling out baby in the future. She and her telco consultant husband would be a target of the White Paper on population. I wonder what sort of views she holds on the baby front.
While the PAP is crafting the election as a local issue; WP’s Sylvia Lim has taken it national – the BE is a barometer of what people feels towards the PAP. This is according to what was reported in Today. I wonder how Punggol East residents will vote.

Dr Koh was reported saying (this is not from MSM but from TR Emeritus): “The residents have to be practical and realistic – that you must choose to vote the person who can do the work for you. I think it’s a fallacy to believe that you can have the best of both worlds – choose the person to make a statement but hope that the other person who’s voted out is going to be having all the resources, all the authority, to get the work done for you.”

You know, I will quickly give Dr Koh and Ms Lee a list of what I want in the estate – Rivervale Plaza ready by tomorrow, more LRT trains, more bus services, a couple of child care centres…and while we’re at it, lower S&C charges.

Isn’t it fantastic to be courted? And now, Desmond Lim of SDA has entered the picture and Reform Party’s Kenneth Jeyaretnam. The first competed with Ms Lee against Michael Palmer in the last election. Mr Jeyaretnam, on the other hand, doesn’t think he needs an introduction. SDP is also announcing its candidate too. SDP’s Chee Soon Juan, by the way, said in Today that he never did expect WP to accept its offer of a “unity candidate’’. Makes you wonder why he even extended the offer in the first place? All that it resulted in is bad press for SDP – online and offline.

So that makes it a multi-cornered fight unless some last minute pact is brokered before Nomination Day tomorrow. (Don’t forget the two independents who seem to like losing their electoral deposit every time an election rolls around)
Now who says politics in Singapore is dead?

Random thoughts on the by-election

In News Reports, Politics on January 12, 2013 at 3:40 am

So many things happening over the past few days, so hard to keep track. Some random thoughts on the coming by-election:
a. The fuss over the son of Punggol. I wonder whose big idea it is to label PAP candidate Koh Poh Koon that way. He can hardly be sentient in those few years when he lived there as a babe. One friend who has lived in the same place all his life said he should be known as the Father of Chai Chee. I guess I should be the Punggol Pariah then since I hardly know where it is…

Dr Koh, who used the same label on himself on his FB page, rescued himself somewhat by displaying a sense of humour when he acknowledged the barrage of really crappy jokes that have accompanied his profession as a colorectal surgeon. I gather from ST reports that he is a different kettle of fish from the ebullient Michael Palmer – more serious and stoic. Of course, the grassroots leaders also added another “s’’ – sincere.

Random thought: Managed PR is a bummer and smells wrong; an image generated from the bottom up is better.
b. ST had a good interview published today with Mak Yuen Teen, a corporate governance expert, on the MND’s review of town council in light of the AIM transaction. He put forth the issues very nicely and suggested that a kind of corporate governance code like that in place for charities be put in place. But he balked at saying anything about the political nature of town councils since he is not a “political scientist’’. Town councils were started so that MPs can account for their work to residents. He asked this question: Before town councils, what were MPs accountable for then?

This is interesting. As far as I can recall, the G introduced town councils so that residents can see how their vote will have a direct impact on their daily lives and their surroundings. I have always thought that this was to blunt the lure of having an opposition in Parliament to check on the PAP government. Constituents would have to think harder about their vote. So this relatively new innovation of Singapore (like the vehicle quota system, exec condos, foreign worker policy etc) requires a re-think. Does anyone think that a bunch of civil servants in MND will be able to deal with a “political’’ question on the “fundamental nature’’ of town councils – when an academic declined to do so? Anyway I thought WP did the right thing by withdrawing its adjournment motion. Better to wait for the MND report and then tackle the report. Why waste time now? Let the civil servants dig out the details.

Random thought: The Punggol East voters should ask what would happen if their town council changes hands…The trouble is, the MND review will only be completed after the polls on Jan 26…

c. The Opposition is NOT having a party. SDP’s Chee Soon Juan’s proposal for co-operation with WP in the Punggol East BE floored me. So they campaign together and if they win – SDP sits in Parliament and WP runs the town council. Looks like the SDP, after launching its proposals on housing and health, thinks it’s better placed to be in Parliament while the WP should take the behind-the-scenes work of running the town councils. If WP says yes, I don’t know what to think! It sort of overturns the town council idea of having your parliament representative demonstrate some governing ability. (MND, please take note). You know, I think the SDP should just try to get itself nominated in Parliament as NMPs – if all it wants is a voice.

And these letters that SDP have made public on its overtures to WP….one wonders what’s wrong with making a telephone call and settling everything privately? The PAP must be real pleased with SDP’s play. WP must be real pissed – it’s been saying all the right things so far (even acknowledging that PAP has incumbent advantage in Punggol East) – and now it looks like it’s being pressured to make some kind of statement on SDP’s proposal…

Random thought: How is all this wrangling good for the Punggol East voter?

A by-election agenda

In News Reports, Politics on December 28, 2012 at 10:33 am

So many political parties interested in a vacant parliamentary seat even though there hasn’t been a firm indication that a by-election will be called in Punggol East. It would be tragic don’t you think if the opposition parties start grassroots work and the PM decides that he would NOT hold a BE but just wait till the next GE.

I wonder how many people are betting on the will he or won’t he question, or the when question….I gather that the opposition parties will campaign on national rather than local issues. There’s plenty of fodder, whether in housing, healthcare or transport or cost of living. Here’s a thought: The Population Report will be out in January with a gameplan on how to deal with the no-baby, so -many-foreigners problem. The strategy it puts out will point Singapore’s way forward. How about putting that on BE agenda, should a BE come to pass? That would be a real meaty issue that would concentrate minds in the poll booth.

By the way….

In News Reports, Politics, Society on December 21, 2012 at 1:06 am

A by-the-way by-election

Those who are not in the habit of reading The Straits Times editorials should read it today. Ignore the lame headline: Weighing the case for a by-election. The bottomline is: ST thinks that a Punggol East by-election should be held soon. Of course, it was carefully couched: “So on balance, it is perhaps best not to delay holding a by-election in Punggol East. Constituents’ expectations outweigh other considerations.’’

(Gosh. ST didn’t believe its own poll of residents which showed most can’t be bothered….!)
In any case, I am glad that after much meandering and huffing and puffing and having to make to case for and against, it came down to making a decision. I was intrigued though at the final paragraphs.

As in Hougang, Punggol East’s constituents should decide how seriously they take the personal failures of their former representative, and how they judge those shortcomings against the record of his party’s work for them. The party’s standing led to a win in Hougang. It is up to voters in Punggol East to decide if the same logic should apply. They should be given a chance to do so.

By the way, the party it referred to in Hougang is the Workers’ Party. So Yaw Shin Leong’s case of infidelity was too small for residents to decide that WP should be thrown out of Hougang. ST is saying that in the case of Punggol East, constituents have to decide if the same logic should apply: That is, whether Michael Palmer’s case is too small to throw out the PAP.
Very nice touch!

IP college? Why?

Everybody’s a-twitter, tittering and in a tizzy over the case of River Valley High principal in a CPIB probe. So there’s a woman involved apparently. Shades of Ng Boon Gay! Anyway, since nobody is really confirming anything and much of what the media is saying is speculation from unknown sources, I am not touching it.

I am more interested in this story about a new JC that will open in 2017 for students from three new Integrated Programme (IP) schools: Catholic High School, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School and Singapore Chinese Girls’ School. It’s in the ST.
The students will spend their first four years in their respective secondary schools. They will spend the final two years of their IP programme at the new JC, which will also accept students from non-IP secondary schools. So now we have 13 JCs, after Innova in Woodlands opened in 2005.

It’s mighty odd. I thought the idea was for the IP kids to do their A levels in their old school, not move on to some other place. This means it’s no different from other JCs except that the three IP school students get a “free pass’’ so to speak, as others will have to rely on their O level results to get in – I presume. You mean three IP schools can’t do the last two years for the students? Why? Shouldn’t the students just sit for the O levels then and compete like everyone else for a place? MOE said more details will come and I hope it will not just be about how the new JC will have wonderful facilities and great teachers etc. We need an explanation of the rationale for this move.

The case of the philandering parliamentarian Part 3

In News Reports, Politics, Society on December 14, 2012 at 2:17 am

ST has gone one up on TNP over Palmergate, coming up with the name of Laura Ong’s boyfriend. Who is trying desperately to lose himself…The poor man is removing online traces of himself and playing hide-and-seek with the media. Still, a somewhat blurry photo of him was obtained with some background on his educational qualifications and what not.

I don’t know about you but I would give the poor guy a break. Unless ST thinks he’s the whistle-blower who went to TNP with the incriminating SMSes. Even so, I would protect his identity. He’s clearly the cuckold in the business, just as Mrs Palmer was. Now, if we are cutting the missus some slack, what about some for the boyfriend too? Unless he wants to come out and tell what he knows and let it all hang out emo-style, which is not what Singaporeans are good at as the world knows.

Likewise, I wish her now-separated husband’s identity had been kept private. He’s got nothing to do with this affair. Or did he?

I know that the media wants as much information on the saga as possible –  it’s the stuff of adrenalin-pumping reporting – but we really have got to be fair. I doubt they are thronging the gates of the Palmer residence, so what not treat Laura’s family in Marine Parade in the same manner? Obviously, she isn’t there.

There are ways to get people to talk without harassing them. I don’t think the public really wants to know who they are, but want to hear what they say. In fact, there are better chances to get them to talk if the media agrees to protect their identity. So I would give the people who are hounded the same unsolicited advice I gave Mrs Palmer – send out a press statement, give a few lines and say you want the matter to end there. Oh, and then go stay in a hotel for a few days or get out of town.

As for Palmergate, I guess the PAP leaders who were quick to fire off shots at Yaw Shin Leong and WP are really getting the brunt of online attacks now. The online world keeps reminding them of what they said then.  Goes to show that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Methinks the dust won’t quite settle until we have a firm answer on the yes or no of a by-election. Even Dr Tan Cheng Bock has weighed in on the matter, never mind the opposition parties. ST reported political watchers are helping giving some dates for possible election timings – none said there shouldn’t be one although they acknowledged that it was for the PM to make the call.

I don’t live in Punggol East, but I think they have a right to an elected representative. Why doesn’t someone go ask THEM what they think?

   

The case of the philandering parliamentarian Part 2

In News Reports, Politics on December 13, 2012 at 12:45 am

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?

  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?

 

The case of the philandering parliamentarian

In News Reports, Politics on December 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

Okay, so who’s the woman? I sound like a tabloid journalist, I know. But, hey, everybody wants to know who’s the PA staffer who caught Michael Palmer’s eye. The works, please. Everything about the Palmer marriage as well. With pictures. Can the media oblige?

I am assuming there’s no unwanted interference from up above. And I am asking in the spirit of fairness vis-à-vis the Yaw Shin Leong affair of not too long ago. One thing, I am glad about… so far online media has labelled it an extra-marital affair and not some euphemism like “indiscretion’’.

I sound terrible. Like some bloodsucker from now-defunct News of the World. But everyone deserves “fair’’ treatment or the media will be unfair. Yaw Shin Leong must be laughing his socks off somewhere now that the boot is truly on the other foot…and it’s finally dropped. On the PAP.

I suppose the defence the PAP will come up with is to compare not the two ex-MPs, but the way the two parties approached the issue of a philandering parliamentarian. Like, Palmer admitted it and said sorry. Like, we worked faster, even called a press conference. Like, we quickly made plans on how to “cover’’ his duties. Like, we know Michael Palmer; he’s no Yaw Shin Leong.

Then again, I suppose Workers’ Party would be pretty quick too to go on the attack. Who would be able to resist it? It shows that despite whatever the PAP says about itself, the men in white aren’t so spotless. Like, what did the PAP say again about its selection process compared to ours? Like, he ain’t just an MP, he’s the Speaker of Parliament, for crying out loud! Like, we were tough and sacked Yaw, Palmer quit with your blessings. Like, when’s the by-election?

Gosh. Could Singapore be having yet another by-election? Seems to me the PM is in a pretty difficult position. Never mind that we sorted out this question of whether holding a by-election is at his discretion – it is. The fact is that the Hougang BE set a precedent. A single-seat ward was vacated by a sitting MP, not a GRC slot where the excuse for not holding one would be that the other GRC MPs can cover his duties.

Of course, the Hougang ward did not belong to the PAP and it was therefore a prime opportunity for the PAP to get it back from the WP. Palmer vacated Punggol East, yet another single seat ward, but this time belonging to the PAP. It wouldn’t look good on the PM at all if he exercised his discretion to NOT hold a BE there. Even if he argues that he’s already assigned Teo Ser Luck to look after constituents. (BTW, the PAP has quite a handful of full-time MPs now – why not one of them?)

I’m sorry that this has happened to Palmer, who overturned the conventional wisdom that a non-Chinese would not be able to carry a single-seat ward. Well, he did and he should be a poster boy for the Abolish GRC brigade.

I am sorry that this happened to Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament, because he should have a stricter code of conduct than the parliamentarians he presides over, and because he represents the Singapore Parliament to parliamentary delegates from other countries. I am not sure but I think he sometimes doubles up for the President as well…

I am most sorry for his wife and kid. When men are naughty, their women suffer. Just ask Mrs Ng Boon Gay.