Punggol East residents divided over MP’s resignation

Member of Parliament and Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer resigns due to "improper conduct". (Yahoo! photo)

Residents in Punggol East Yahoo! Singapore spoke to reacted with shock and surprise over the sudden resignation of their Member of Parliament and Speaker of Parliament, Michael Palmer on Wednesday for “improper conduct” with a former PA staffer.

48-year-old Mrs Cheung, a homemaker living in Punggol, was taken aback by Palmer’s sudden decision.

“I met Palmer once when he was walking around just to greet residents. All of us, including my friends, find it hard to accept the news because we saw his wife before and she looked lovely. It is really unexpected for him to do such a thing because he looked like a stable man. My friends and I still cannot believe what happened,” she said.

Another homemaker, Mrs Lim, also admitted her surprise when Yahoo! Singapore spoke to her.

“I didn’t know it was so serious, but I head he is married, isn’t it?” asked the 39-year-old. When probed further, she said, “I only met him [Palmer] once a couple of months ago during a meeting session where the MPs get feedback from the residents. I only spoke to him briefly. So far, my impression of him is still okay.”

Others, however, applauded Palmer’s move to step down.

“MPs are prominent figures, someone the public looks to guide them along. I think what he did was unfavourable as MPs should conduct themselves in a better way. If he wants to win the public's trust and get our votes, he has to prove that he is someone with a reliable character as well, “ said 47-year-old accountant Aidah, who stays in Pasir Ris.

Pasir Ris resident, 30-year-old executive Rabiatul Mustapha, agreed.

“His resignation means he’s admitting his mistake so it’s a good thing he resigned,” she said, but not before lamenting the news of yet another sex scandal. “Such things are so common nowadays,” she said. 

However Nadhirah, a 25-year-old freelance designer who stays in Pasir Ris, said while his decision was “commendable”, there was no need for Palmer to resign.

“To be honest, I think there should be a line separating personal matters and professional work,” she said.

“If he has been doing a proper job, I don’t think many residents would be interested about his personal affairs. I don’t think any less of him considering he committed adultery, which should be a bigger concern for the parties involved like his wife, him and the staff he was involved with”.

Others online were quick to compare Palmer’s misconduct with Workers’ Party member Yaw Shin Leong, who was expelled from his party over allegations of marital indiscretions.

Yahoo! user TheRighteous Hand wrote, “Teo Chee Hean, did you not criticise the MP from WP last year for his extra-marital fling and the WP for coming short in their selection? Now what have you got to say about your own MP and your own selection process? Isn't it flawed too?”

Deborah Moses, a 21-year old undergraduate shared the reader’s sentiments.

“I believe that the people of Punggol East should be given an opportunity to re-elect another MP but at the same time, the trust and hope the people have in the PAP these days has definitely been dampened.”

Related stories:
Speaker of Parliament, PAP MP Michael Palmer resigns due to 'improper conduct'
PM Lee expresses 'great sadness' over Palmer's resignation
Workers' Party calls for by-election in Punggol East 'as soon as possible'