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Star books venue for Pandikar
Published on: Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: State Reform Party Sarawak (Star) has responded to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin's challenge for an open debate on the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) by setting a date, time and venue.

Its president Lina Soo said she had fixed Dec. 23 for the debate at Grand Continental Hotel in Kuching, starting at 2pm.

"Tan Sri, our acceptance of your open challenge to members of the public to a debate 'any place any time' extensively broadcast in the print media, online news portals and social media, and which thereafter is duly executed on our part with our letter of 29th November by Poslaju and reported in the print media and facebook, constitutes a contractual relationship of 'offer and acceptance' which can only be fulfilled by performance.

"We are the first party to accept your offer, and we reiterate our acceptance is not withdrawn, nor can it be deflected and not transferable.

"As a reasonable period of time has lapsed since our communication via our letter, and you have failed to respond with a date and place, we are now at liberty to inform place and time based upon your 'any place any time' term and condition at the time of offer," said Soo in her letter to Pandikar.

Quoting Charles Dickens that 'A Gentleman's Word Is As Good As His Bond', Soo hoped Pandikar would be a gentleman and act on his words.

According to her, it was unbecoming of Pandikar to deflect her acceptance by challenging Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to the debate.

"I wish to ask why he is conjuring all kinds of excuses. Last night on Dialog Khas TV1, he mentioned my name at least 10 times and said 'Lina Soo tak setaraf dengan Pandikar' and referred to me as president party kecil (small party). I hold that being president in a party kecil is bigger than ahli kecil in parti besar, as a big fish in a small pond is better than a small fish in a big pond.

"I am not withdrawing my acceptance which still stands. You (Pandikar) cannot transfer my acceptance to the chief minister of Sarawak. It is ridiculous," she said.

Soo said she is "more than qualified" academically and politically to hold a debate with Pandikar at any place any time.

"If he thinks he is superior, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

"Pandikar has written one book on Malaysia while I have published two books on the formation of Malaysia after extensive research on British declassified documents at the British National Archives in London.

"Pandikar is a degree holder from Wolverhampton Polytechnique while I hold a Masters' degree in Business Administration from the University of Leicester.

"And as for comparing heavyweight against lightweight boxing, I wish to quote "He Can Run, He Can't Hide" a statement attributed to American boxer Joe Louis, 1941," she said.

She also said the people of Sarawak disagree with Pandikar's view of the Malaysia Agreement 2.7 million times.

Meanwhile, Sabah lawyer Datuk Ainal Fattah described Soo's demand for open debate as a conspiracy to embarrass and scandalise the office of Pandikar.

"I charge Lina Soo to have ill intention of humiliating, ridiculing and having mala fide of embarrassing the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat of Malaysia which is, in a sense, an attempt to commit criminal defamation which may fall within the ambit of Defamation Act of the Penal Code.

"It is therefore clear that the unilateral demand of Lina Soo to call for this debate and to fix the time and place as if the Speaker of the Federal Parliament is at her beck and call like a puppy dog is part of an ongoing conspiracy to demean, devalue, scandalise and ridicule the office of the Speaker of Federal Parliament and Tan Sri Pandikar, and if there are unlawful attempts to commit criminal offences in this regard, I call on the relevant authorities to conduct a full investigation," he said in a statement.

Ainal again insisted that Soo is in no position to challenge Pandikar to an open debate.

"How would it look to any right thinking and reasonable-minded Malaysians if Speaker Pandikar accepted an offer from an unelected individual to engage in a frivolous debate over something as important as the foundations of our nation, which is the Malaysia Agreement 1963?

"She should help Abang Joe to gain more BN seats in the coming PRU14. Being a small party people assume that this is the only space to try to gain cheap publicity in the media," he said.

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