GEORGE TOWN: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the debate between federal minister Mohamed Nazri Aziz and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be allowed to carry on.
Lim described Nazri as brave enough to lock horns with Dr Mahathir, “unlike another chicken minister”.
“It (the debate) should be allowed as it helps discussions, like what Nazri had said before. He dares to have a debate with Dr Mahathir, he is no Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
“After all, not every minister is chicken like Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who challenged me for a debate and then chickened out.
“Nazri has proven there are still warriors in the Cabinet,” Lim said in a press conference at Komtar today.
Lim was asked to comment on the cancellation of the debate between Nazri and Mahathir, which was supposed to take place in MRSM Kuala Kangsar, Perak owing to the police not issuing a permit for the event.
Rahman had previously challenged Lim to a debate on a piece of land slated for housing but called it off saying he was advised to do so by the inspector-general of police.
After the police denied the request for a permit, Nazri then proposed that the debate be held at Malay daily Sinar Harian’s headquarters in Shah Alam on Apr 7 instead.
When asked who would he support in the debate, since he had good relations with both Nazri and Mahathir, Lim said he would support anyone from Pakatan Harapan.
“Nazri will attack me, because he is on the other side. I will support Pakatan Harapan, Nazri will support Prime Minister Najib Razak, that is his stand,” Lim said.
The debate came about after Mahathir, who is chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), challenged Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri to a debate on political and economic matters affecting the nation.
He specifically cited topics like 1MDB, the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal and the deposit of RM2.6 billion into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
Mahathir, 91, had also given assurances that it would be held in a peaceful environment.
The two have been engaged in an exchange over the media after Nazri, upon learning that Mahathir and PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin are due in Padang Rengas on March 25 on PPBM’s ongoing tour, challenged one of them to an electoral fight in the constituency.
Mahathir called it an “empty challenge”, saying Nazri knows he has no intention to contest in the upcoming general election. He counter-challenged Nazri to do battle in Langkawi where Mahathir is the party’s new division chief.
The exchange culminated in a Mahathir aide telling FMT on March 10 that Mahathir had confirmed his keenness to debate with Nazri on certain key issues.
Last week, Perak police warned that the public debate constituted an illegal assembly if it did not have a permit under the Peaceful Assembly Act, despite it being held indoors.