PETALING JAYA: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim chided Ismail Sabri Yaakob for declining his call to have a televised debate between prime ministerial candidates ahead of the 15th general election (GE15).
Anwar said it was incredulous to hear Ismail say debates were not the culture in Malaysian politics when it was encouraged in schools and by scholars.
“When we ask to debate, they say it is not their culture. What is this? In schools, people take part in debate competitions. In universities, critical and creative thinking are encouraged, hence, debate events.
“In the olden days, ulamas (religious scholars) debated and had a healthy exchange of questions and answers in encouraging differences of opinion.
“And what do we do in Parliament? Debate, of course. So, Ismail, what era are you living in?” Anwar asked at a ceramah in Melaka last night.
Ismail, in declining Anwar’s call for a debate, had said the Pakatan Harapan chairman would likely use the opportunity to campaign and “promise the moon and stars” to voters.
He said Umno and BN would win the coming polls based on the electorate’s trust in them to lead the country.
“First of all, it is not our culture to have debates. We have never done this, and it doesn’t do any good,” Ismail was reported as saying.
Anwar also said he was very much a Perakian at heart as he had spent nine years in the state, seven of them at the Malay College Kuala Kangsar during his schooling years.
“And then the government was considerate and sent me to detention at Kamunting for two years. Nine years, I’ve persevered and been loyal to Perak,” he said in explaining his candidacy for the Tambun parliamentary seat.