PETALING JAYA: A new challenger has emerged after DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang backed down from taking up Najib Razak’s challenge to a debate.
Jelutong MP RSN Rayer says he is more than capable of taking on the veteran politician, who was also the former prime minister.
The outspoken younger politician feels that an elder statesman like Lim should not waste his time debating with an alleged “kleptocrat”.
“It is inappropriate for Lim Kit Siang to debate with Najib. Why should he be lowering his self-esteem (standards) debating with Najib,” he told FMT.
He asked Najib to clear himself of all the court charges he is facing first.
“Furthermore, there was ample opportunity for Najib to debate before the May 9 general election last year, like the ‘Nothing to Hide’ forum with Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” he said referring to an event scheduled for Aug 13, 2017 for which Najib did not show up.
Even now, Rayer said Najib does not want to debate with anyone in Dewan Rakyat. “He says he does not want to be interrupted,” he added.
Rayer said he was offering himself to debate with Najib.
“Najib can debate with me on anything and everything,” he added.
“I offer to take on Najib in Parliament if he is prepared to debate with me there.”
Analysts had said the debate between Lim and Najib would have been an opportunity for the former PM to reach out to a wider support base and cast the spotlight away from all of his alleged transgressions.
Najib had suggested that the debate be held after the Hari Raya celebrations and telecast live.
Lim had earlier said he had no objection to other topics being discussed at the debate but the subject matter must not be changed.
He said the subject matter must clearly be publicised as “How Malaysia became a global kleptocracy and how can we become a leading nation of integrity”.
Lim claimed earlier today that an “avalanche of advice” from Malaysians convinced him not to proceed with the debate. He claimed there was also a likelihood that the debate would be turned into a “Malay vs Chinese conflict”.
He said he was aware that his decision would be greeted with the label that he is a coward.