GEORGE TOWN: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today challenged MCA president Liow Tiong Lai to a debate on state fund 1MDB and the Penang undersea tunnel project, saying it was for the sake of national interest.
He said since Liow had not responded to his wish to debate him instead of his deputy Wee Ka Siong, he would be the first to throw down the gauntlet.
“Lets see if he is as brave as (ex-MCA president) Chua Soi Lek who dared to debate me.
“Let the people judge our debate. I am challenging Liow because we are both party leaders, it is appropriate,” Lim said at a press conference at Komtar today.
He said among the topics he would debate regarding 1MDB was the money allegedly received by “MO1” and businessman Low Taek Jho.
MO1 refers to Malaysian Official No. 1, an acronym used extensively in naming a party in the civil forfeiture case brought by the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
The DoJ has filed two civil forfeiture lawsuits against assets worth US$1.8 billion (RM7.7 billion) that it claims were bought with funds stolen from 1MDB.
The suits comprised the largest legal action brought under the DoJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
Chua had debated Lim twice in 2012, largely on whose party had benefitted Malaysians the most.
Lim’s challenge came after Wee reportedly called him to debate the Penang tunnel and roads project, which has become a focal point for Barisan Nasional (BN) parties against the opposition-led Penang government.
However, Lim turned Wee down, saying he would only debate someone equal to his status of party secretary-general.
Although Wee subsequently called Lim a coward for not accepting his challenge, Lim shrugged it off saying it did not matter as he had “fought Umno and BN” and had been detained and imprisoned twice before.
Lim was referring to his imprisonment under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1988 and his second detention in 1998 after he was found guilty of spreading allegations that former Melaka chief minister Rahim Tamby Chik had raped an underage girl.
FMT has contacted Liow for comment and is awaiting his reply.