Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No reason for me to apologise over the Senate Lounge incident

It has been an annual thing that many bright and deserving SPM scorers will fail to obtain JPA scholarships. This year is no different when JPA scholarship results were released on May 21.

Subsequently, I received many calls from parents from all over the country expressing shock that students who had obtained 11'As and 12A's in their SPM examination were not successful in obtaining JPA scholarships. Many parents alleged that the JPA was not being transparent and fair in awarding the scholarships.

On June 9, I decided to have a dialogue in Parliament with some parents and NGO's on the JPA scholarship issue. I wrote a letter to the Secretary of Parliament to request for a room to have the dialogue.

I was asked to get in touch with a Parliament staff who subsequently booked the Senate Lounge as there was no other room available then.

Over 100 people attended the meeting. As it was proceeding some UMNO MPs barged into the Lounge uninvited. As a result a commotion occurred and harsh words were exchanged.

On the very day, the MP for Kinabatangan Datuk Bung Moktar moved a motion in the Parliament Chamber to refer me to the Committee of Privileges.The Speaker then said he needed time to investigate the incident. The Speaker delivered his decision in the Parliament Chamber today.

The Speaker announced that there is a prima facie case against me but Kinabatangan MP had cited a wrong provision of the Parliament’s Standing Order to refer me to the Committee of Privileges.

He advised MP for Kinabatangan to file a substantive motion which requires 14days notice before the motion can be debated. Alternatively, a Minister can move a motion which can be debated forthwith.

MP for Kinabatangan and other MP's then suggested that I should just apologise and get the matter settled. I stood up and informed the house:-

1)That the June 9 dialogue was held to get views from parties affected by the unfair award of JPA scholarships. Parliament will become irrelevant if issues of this nature are not ventilated. We as the elected representatives are expected to raise and discuss such issues.

2)Let's get the facts right on who have trespassed into the meeting uninvited. It was the UMNO MPs like MPs for Tangga Batu, Lenggong and Kinabatangan who had barged into the dialogue session and acted like gangsters.

3)So against whom should action be taken? Against the aggressor or victim?

For record, let it be known that I have no justifiable reason to apologize and I am no apologist! If need be, I am willing to face any form of punishment meted out. For I believe my stand is consistent with the interest of all

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