Michael Palmer (politician)

Michael Anthony Palmer (born 14 July 1968) is a Singaporean lawyer and former politician. He served as a Member of Parliament (MP) for Singapore's governing People's Action Party (PAP) from 2006 to 2012, and was the Speaker of the House in the Parliament of Singapore from October 2011 to December 2012.[3]

Michael Anthony Palmer
8th Speaker of the Parliament of Singapore
In office
10 October 2011  12 December 2012
PresidentTony Tan Keng Yam
Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong
DeputyCharles Chong
Seah Kian Peng
Preceded byAbdullah Tarmugi
Succeeded byHalimah Yacob
ConstituencyPunggol East SMC
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Punggol East SMC
In office
7 May 2011  12 December 2012
Preceded byHimself
Succeeded byLee Li Lian (WP)
Member of the Singapore Parliament
for Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC(Punggol East)
In office
6 May 2006  18 April 2011
Preceded byCharles Chong (PAP)
Succeeded byHimself
Personal details
Born (1968-07-14) 14 July 1968 (age 53)
Political partyPeople's Action Party (2006–2013)
Spouse(s)Diana Palmer
Children1 son [1]
ParentsVernon Palmer (father, a local news presenter) [2]
Alma materUniversity College London


Palmer was called to the Singapore Bar in 1995 and joined the law firm Harry Elias Partnership as a legal consultant. He became a partner at the firm in 1998.[4]

In April 2013, Palmer left Harry Elias Partnership and joined the law firm Lawrence Quahe & Woo.[5] The firm was renamed Quahe Woo & Palmer when he joined.[6]

Political career

Palmer was elected a Member of Parliament (MP) for the Pasir Ris–Punggol Group Representation Constituency (Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC) in the 2006 general election.

Palmer served as the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Foreign Affairs from 2008 to 2011, and as the Chairman of the Home Affairs and Law committee in 2011.

At the 2011 general election, Palmer was elected as the MP for Punggol East Single Member Constituency after defeating Lee Li Lian of the Workers' Party and Desmond Lim of the Singapore Democratic Alliance.[4] Palmer was then nominated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the post of Speaker of Parliament, and was elected to this role by the House on 10 October 2011.[7]

Extramarital affair and resignation

Palmer announced his resignation as Speaker of Parliament and MP for Punggol East (as well as from the PAP) on 12 December 2012 due to an extra-marital affair with Laura Ong Hui Hoon, constituency director of the People's Association (PA) office in Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC.[1][8] At a press conference, alongside Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, Palmer admitted he had made "a grave mistake" and that it was "a serious error of judgment". He resigned "in order to avoid further embarrassment". The PA staff member concerned also resigned.[3] The PAP subsequently lost the by-election in Palmer's Punggol East constituency in January 2013 when Lee Li Lian of the Workers' Party (who Palmer had defeated in the 2011 general election) won the seat, defeating the PAP's candidate Koh Poh Koon.

Other roles

Palmer was also the Chairman of the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) Council. He was replaced by Assistant Commissioner Zuraidah as Covering Chairperson after the scandal.[9]


Palmer attended the St Andrew's family of schoolsSt Andrew's Junior School, St Andrew's Secondary School and St Andrew's Junior College – which is affiliated to the Anglican Church of Singapore. He later read law in University College London and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 1992.


  1. Tan, Judith; The New Paper (15 December 2012). "SMSes expose Michael Palmer's affair". Archived from the original on 18 December 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  2. "MP Michael Palmer's father passed away". AsiaOne. 25 November 2009. Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  3. "Michael Palmer resigns as Speaker". TODAYonline. 12 December 2012. Archived from the original on 14 December 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  4. "Member's CV". 2011. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  5. "Michael Palmer to join law firm Lawrence Quahe & Woo". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  6. Michael Palmer leaves Harry Elias to join boutique law firm Archived 2013-11-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Straits Times, 4 April 2013.
  7. Quek, Carolyn (11 October 2011). "Michael Palmer sworn in as House Speaker". TODAYonline. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  8. "Laura Ong's husband: She is a good wife". AsiaOne. 13 December 2012. Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  9. "14th NPCC Council". Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
Parliament of Singapore
Preceded by
Abdullah Tarmugi
Speaker of Parliament
12 October 2011–12 December 2012
Succeeded by
Charles Chong (acting)
Halimah Yacob