(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Senators have organised a blitzekrieg of letters in the local press in response to my rejection of the Dewan Negara motion demanding an unconditional apology and retraction of my reference to the Senate as a "rubbish-bin for political has-beens, rejects and deadwood" and that the reference be expunged from the Hansard of the Dewan Rakyat.
Where is the Senator who challenged me to repeat what I had said about the Senate outside Parliament without the benefit of parliamentary privilege so that he could sue me and where is the other Senator who had challenged me to a public debate?
One Senator has claimed in the press that sometimes the Senate debated the bills more extensively than the Dewan Rakyat, but he fell silent when I asked why the Dewan Negara passed the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill 1997 on December 22 without debate whatsoever - vindicating my description of the Senate as a "rubber-stamp to a rubber-stamp".
The Senators and their letter-writing supporters want the people to believe that Senators are very industrious, diligent and conscientious members of the Upper House. If so, why is it that the Senator who moved the censure motion against me did not even submit a single question during the 10-day meeting of the Dewan Negara last month?
A few Senators have sworn to act against me and that as the Dewan Negara would not meet until another three months, a meeting of the Senators' Club would be convened. I must confess that this is the first time I have heard that there is a Senators' Club, as I had thought the entire Dewan Negara is nothing but a club!
So far, the Senate-cheering letter-writing squad has produced three letters, one anonymous, one by a former member of the Senate and another hoping to be nominated soon into the Senate.
They have not been able to refute my statement that the Senate has become a "rubbish-bin for political has-beens, rejects and deadwood". Their whole argument basically is that I should not be so impolite as to call a spade a spade! Let me state here that I am prepared to apologise to the Senate if the Senators can convince me and Malaysians that the Dewan Negara is not a "rubbish-bin for political has-beens, rejects and deadwood" and a burdensome national irrelevance.
I propose therefore to convene a public meeting in Kuala Lumpur, tentatively on January 18, inviting all Senators and the members of their letter-writing cheering-squad to convince me and the Malaysian public that the Dewan Negara is not a "rubbish-bin for political has-beens, rejects and deadwood" and a burdensome national irrelevance.
All Senators and members of their letter-writing cheering-squad who are prepared to stand up publicly to defend the Dewan Negara at a public meeting on January 18 should contact my office, either 03-2397131 (Ms Azila), 03-7578022 (Ms Foo), by Saturday, so that such a public meeting could be organised. We can invite former Federal Court judge Tan Sri Harun Hashim or eminent academician/columnist Rustam Sani to chair such a public meeting, where I would present my case as to why I say the Dewan Negara is a "rubbish-bin for political has-beens, rejects and deadwood" and a burdensome national irrelevance while the Senators and their supporters can prove me wrong.