KUCHING – State Reform Party Sarawak (STAR) has taken up the challenge of Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia by setting a time and venue for an open debate on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Its president Lina Soo said she had fixed Dec 23 for the debate to take place at Grand Continental Hotel here at 2pm.
She said she would send a letter on details about the time and venue for the debate to Pandikar by Poslaju, adding that the letter should reach Pandikar by today.
According to Soo, STAR is the first political party to accept the offer of debate and the party will not withdraw its acceptance of challenge.
“I sent a letter dated Nov 29 to Pandikar to accept his challenge and this was reported by the press which constitutes a contractual relationship of ‘offer and acceptance’ that can only be fulfilled by performance,” she told a press conference at a hotel here yesterday.
Soo felt that it made no sense for Pandikar to deflect her acceptance by challenging Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to the debate.
“I am not withdrawing my acceptance which still stands. You (Pandikar) cannot transfer my acceptance to the chief minister of Sarawak. It is so ridiculous.
“He (Pandikar) cannot deflect or run away or transfer to another name, so I fix the time and venue. There will be a table and a chair with his name. Let him be a gentleman and not break his word.
“Whether he will be present or not, I will be there (Grand Continental Hotel) and we welcome him to Sarawak,” she added.
Soo said the response to the subject matter had been tremendous especially on social media, adding many Sarawakians had rallied around the course and “every Sarawakian wants to know the truth about MA63”.
“And the truth will be known on Dec 23,” she quipped.
Soo reiterated that there was no way for Pandikar to run away while pointing out that “Sarawak is waiting” for him.
She said Pandikar was the one who threw the open offer to a debate on MA63 ‘any place any time’.
As such, she opined that the Speaker should not make excuses not to engage in a debate with her by telling the press that ‘Lina Soo tak setaraf dengan Pandikar’ (Lina Soo is not of the same standard as Pandikar).
“I’m an elected president of a political party whereas Pandikar is just a member of Umno and he has no elected position in Umno.
“He is not an elected lawmaker, not the head of any political party and his position of Speaker is only upon the whims and fancies of the prime minister. If the prime minister does not like him, he won’t even have his position.
“Academically, both of us are graduates of the United Kingdom. Pandikar is a degree holder from Wolverhampton Polytechnique while I hold a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Leicester.
“I am more than qualified, academically and politically, to have a debate with him any place any time.
“If he thinks he is better, he should prove it,” she added.
Soo hoped that Pandikar would honour his word and make time for the debate she had set up for.
Quoting Charles Dickens from his book titled ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, she said: “A gentleman’s word is as good as his bond”.
“That is to say, a gentleman will carry out his words with action,” she said, adding that she looked forward to meeting Pandikar come Dec 23. – The Borneo Post