PETALING JAYA: Former Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir has rejected “late notification” and “objections of residents and traders afraid for their safety” as reasons for the police refusal to allow a debate between him and his former special aide taking place.
He said the first reason of being late in notifying police was invalid as his challenger, Haris Che Mat, had proposed April 15 as the alternative date for the debate should his application to the police on April 4 prove too late for the event to be held on April 7.
“In fact, I myself have proposed (to hold the debate on) April 27 or May 5. I hope Haris will again inform the Kubang Pasu police station of these dates.”
Haris had applied for a permit for the debate from Kubang Pasu police but this was rejected.
As for the other reason given by police, Mukhriz said it was questionable that residents and those doing business nearby were truly worried that the debate was a threat to their safety.
“A mature debate can take place without fighting and jeopardising the safety of the public,” he said in a statement today.
“And is it not the responsibility of the police to maintain public safety while allowing the democratic process to take place without interference?”
Mukhriz reminded the police that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 stated that the security forces were to be “notified” of an assembly, or debate, 10 days before the event.
“It is not within the power of the police to approve or reject the notification.”
Haris last month challenged his former boss to debate with him on the topic, “The Wealth of Mahathir’s Children”, believed to amount to billions of ringgit.
“The debate is necessary because the people need to know how Mahathir’s children amassed their wealth. It is my responsibility to reveal it.”
Haris is Pokok Sena Umno vice-chief and Mukhriz is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president.
Haris was special political officer to Mukhriz when he was Kedah menteri besar.