Paul Keating, a former PM of Australia well-known for his razor sharp quips, once sneered at the Australian Senate as nothing more than ‘unrepresentative swill’. He made the derogatory remark to indicate that it’s the House of Representatives (Lower House) and not the Senate which speaks for the people.
The Australian Senate has a tendency to be very assertive and in fact had brought down a PM before (Gough Whitlam) by blocking a Supply Bill. Keating wanted to put the Senators in their place.
And mind you, the Australian Senators are elected, whereas in Malaysia, the Dewan Senate consists of members not directly elected by the people. Our Senate has been in reality nothing more than a rubber stamp for Dewan Rakyat, or more correctly, the cabinet.
But what I wouldn’t give to be a senator to collect the generous salary and enjoy the perks for just sokong-ing, basically okay-ing whatever the BN in the Lower House passes. I believe with just two terms (maximum terms permitted anyway) I would be due for a life long pension.
Besides, there’s also the 3-syllable title of Senator to consider too, especially in our title-conscious society - and there's only 70 of such titles instead of the zillions of Datuks.
Imagine, Senator Kayteemoc – hmmm, bow & tremblingly obey, you other bloggers, hahaha!
Even though some Senators are supposed to represent minority groups such as the Orang Asli, we do wonder from time to time whether the Senators are of any use at all. According to elders, our most and only distinguished senator was Ghazali Shafie - also known flamboyantly as King Guz – and that was because he entered the cabinet through the Senate backdoor on the behest of the late Tun Razak!
But malaysiakini informs us that Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi, a current senator, has stirred or attempted to stir things up a bit by proposing our national capital, Kuala Lumpur, be moved to another location so that it may be known as the ‘ibu kota tanpa lumpur’ or ‘capital without mud’.
'Lumpur' happens to be the Malay word for mud.
He said Kuala Lumpur is situated in a valley which is prone to flooding. Because of its national capital city status Kuala Lumpur (or Kayell as it's affectionately called) invariably has a very high population.
Flooding and lots of people - generally a bad combination.
When thunderstorms hit Kuala Lumpur, the city folks there would experience and suffer from flash flooding. Dr Mohd Puad is sick of these many flash floods, which makes the ‘mud’ appellation rather true.
He proposed a solution:“So instead of spending billions of ringgit in trying to resolve the flood problems, it will be better if we move Kuala Lumpur to another location and call it ‘ibu kota tanpa lumpur’.”
I wonder how running away from the flood problems can solve the nightmare for many who have to live there. But then, I suppose one has to have that thinking to be a senator.
If I can just advise the dear Senator, the Dutch people live on land that’s actually lower than the sea level so what’s our flash flooding by comparison, except other than a far smaller challenge for us to surmount, rather than run away from.
Hmmm, to borrow from Paul Keating's comment on the Australian Senate, ours seem to be more of 'unrepresentative mud'.