SINGAPORE - "My friend got a super scandal about a politician having an affair. Got proof. You interested?"
This intriguing text message sent to The New Paper by a contact at 10.48am on Saturday was the first hint of what unfolded yesterday.
TNP immediately tried to find out more about what seemed like an explosive story. For the next hour, there was silence.
Then a couple more messages arrived five minutes before noon from a source close to the woman linked to the scandal.
At noon, four e-mails with the header "Michael Palmer" were sent to TNP.
Attached to three of them were screengrabs of SMS and e-mail exchanges allegedly between the politician and the woman. Michael Palmer. Speaker of Parliament since last year. Young, dashing politician. This was a big story indeed.
The messages, which seemed to have been sent to the woman's smartphone, suggested an intimate relationship between the two, which included regular Monday meetings.
One message reads: "Hello darling... I love you loads. More than I sometimes show... Sorry. Love love."
Another message says: "But you can't judge our relationship by just what happens on Monday."
One e-mail shows a forwarded message: "Your booking at Fairmont Singapore." The last e-mail sent by the source contained a picture of a Dior handbag that Mr Palmer purportedly gave the woman.
Shortly after, the informant said in an SMS that the issue needed to be escalated. He declined to speak to TNP and would only communicate through SMS.
"You recall Yaw Shin Leong? We need good ministers," he wrote.
Mr Yaw, a former member of the Workers' Party, was the MP for Hougang before news of his alleged extramarital affairs caused his sacking earlier this year.
As TNP was trying to verify the information given by the source, somewhere else in Singapore that same day, Mr Palmer was coming clean to the People's Action Party (PAP).
He met Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and said that "he would resign his positions", the media was told in a press conference chaired by the DPM on Wednesday.
When Mr Palmer apologised "for what he had done", Mr Teo told him to look after his family and to do what he could "to make up for the hurt he had caused them".
|Michael Palmer's political career
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: SPH, Internet)