09 July 2012

Debate 2.0 : Sooi Lek vs Guan Eng, better, but...

chua lim debate 080712Barely five months after what was probably the nation’s first ever political debate on live television, the Chua Soi Lek-Lim Guan Eng rematch in English has been the most anticipated face-off in recent times.

Kicking off at 2.30pm at Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre today, the duel saw Lim eagerly showing off Pakatan Rakyat’s achievements while Chua set his sights on discrediting the opposition coalition’s policies, taking an offensive stance while trumpeting MCA’s own previous achievements.

However it looked to be more of the same from the very start, with Chua indulging in his familiar ‘pitting the Chinese against the Chinese’ argument against DAP, while Lim relied on his well-worn blaring of Penang’s successes.

But the MCA chief and the Penang chief minister both eventually got around to offering a little more substance in terms of discussing ‘whose policies benefit the country more’, the title of the debate.

Despite this, the hour-and-a-half session was mostly rhetoric and political chest-thumping.

NONEAnd while last week’s back-and-forth in the media between Chua and Lim on the latter’s alleged affair did not carry over into the debate, the heated exchanges today suggest the fight is not over.

Adding to this was the noisy audience, who were disappointingly rowdy at times. Thankfully, with no microphones near them and only written question from the floor accepted, no new Ms Tow Truck emerged.

What resulted was a debate that was a step up from the first round, but still some way off from showing Malaysia to be the truly mature democracy that it aspires to be.

Round 1: The kickoff

lim chua debate 080712A coin-flip saw Lim taking the microphone first, where he launched right into political attack mode against MCA, calling them “unqualified” to debate on policies, as Umno is the party calling the shots.

Not one to lose out, Chua hit back citing MCA’s 60-year history of nation building, belittling DAP’s habit of sourcing public donations without offering accountability on how the money was spent, suggesting that they should use the funds to establish a kindergarten in Penang instead.

Round 2: Moderator reins in debate
Michael Yeo, chairperson of the event organisers Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) then took his turn to pose the duo questions.  Both were asked their parties’ efforts in expanding their traditional base; for the MCA it was the urban middle-class voters, and for the DAP the non-Chinese voters.

Rather than taking the opportunity to show off MCA’s present-day efforts, Chua chose to rely on the party’s past record, like the setting up of Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC).

Lim was little better at staying on topic, delighting in hitting back at Chua on the TARC issue after responding to Yeo’s other question as to whether DAP was truly multiracial.

It was akin to watching two opposing ceramahs in the same room. Both sides chose to throw verbal blows at each other rather than win over the other side or latch onto the topic of policies.

Round 3: The panel’s turn to ask

After a five-minute break, the panel comprising MCA vice-president Chor Chee Heung, Rocketkini’s chief editor Wan Hamidi Hamid and Asli representative James Chin of Monash University’s School of Social Sciences took their turns to pose questions.

NONEExpectedly, Chua sidestepped Wan Hamidi’s question if MCA is afraid of standing up to Umno, instead turning it into an attack on Pakatan.

Lim was no better, evading Chor’s poser on Pakatan’s minimum income plan in favour of jumping on the latter’s question that mentioned the government’s RM26 billion in leakages.


"This is the first time I hear a minister admitting that corruption is costing the government RM26 billion," quipped Lim.

James Chin, the independent panellist, posed both speakers an excellent question on their parties’ approach to the contentious New Economic Policy (NEP).

Lim took the usual opposition line of blaming the policy as ineffective in uplifting the Malay community, but did not offer any concrete suggestions on a replacement policy.

Chua, on the other hand, interestingly admitted that the NEP has been “hijacked”, but failed to capitalise on a possible fresh talking point when he did not elaborate.

And while both speakers predictably sidestepped the questions from the partisan panellists, it was again disappointing to see them offer little to no substance on the NEP issue, especially considering the debate’s intended focus.

Round 4: Posers from the floor

Some respite from the rhetoric thankfully came when questions from the floor were fielded. Asked about education policies, Lim stressed an “equal opportunities” policy and zeroed in on English language standards, proposing that the subject be made a compulsory pass in SPM.

NONEChua offered no solutions either and turned the tables on the “brain drain” frequently cited by the opposition with a disingenuous reply calling it a testimony that Malaysians are marketable internationally.

The closing remarks round finally saw some debate on policy, with both sides trumpeting their respective policies and heaping scorn on the other. Chua touted Felda’s recent public listing being “the second largest in the world” as a sign of Malaysia’s robust economy, but his boast that all the ports in Malaysia have been privatised except for Penang Port probably will not win him points.

Predictably Chua took his last shot at DAP’s attitude towards dissent, succumbing to the temptation of working in Lim’s supposed affair.

NONE“I heard from the press in Penang that you cannot mention one person’s name, or DAP leaders will threaten to sue,” he quipped.

Lim fired back rattling off another list of Penang’s successes, including its low cost housing project, its designation as the country’s most “liveable” city and its debt reduction under Pakatan.

In an attempt at sophistication he even quoted Thomas Jefferson: "When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

In all, the exchanges while characterised by the usual mudslinging from both sides, nevertheless did see the speakers highlighting and defending their parties’ policies.

The aftermath

However, this was with no thanks to the audience, who cheered and jeered liberally as the debaters either pandered to or angered them.

NONEAnd while both leaders commendably avoided dragging their recent spat over the ‘other woman’ into the fray, their supporters were not as kind, with MCA’s camp (right) chanting “Xiao Hong” (the name of the lady involved in the rumour) and “CD” (in reference to Chua’s sex video scandal) marring the end of the debate.

Both sides were guilty of misbehaviour, with random supporters from either side jeering loudly at times before being told off by officials on the floor.

In closing the event, Yeo thanked both speakers for being “eloquent” in the debate; and while he may be correct, the same sadly cannot be said for the sharply partisan crowd.

Lim won't debate Chua again, wants PM vs Anwar

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said he won’t debate MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek a third time because he hopes that the next debate should be between prime ministerial candidates.

He said that the stage is now set for a showdown between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.

chua lim debate 080712"The next debate everyone wants to see is between Anwar and Najib," he said at a press conference after a two-hour debate with Chua today.

Lim said that this was the norm in developed countries and it allowed its electorate to judge their potential leaders.

Pointing out that Chua has no government positions, there was no point debating him anymore.

"Chua kept on saying (during the debate) that Najib doesn't need to debate because he is ‘transformational leader’. If you use that type of logic then why should I debate with Chua?" he asked.

During the intense debate earlier, Lim had asked Chua why BN was not keen on having Najib debate Anwar in public.

Chua replied that Najib was a “transformational leader” whose efforts and results are widely publicised by the media while Anwar has little to show for. 

During the press conference, Lim said that he was not trying to put down Chua despite the unequal standing, he said it was not an excuse to avoid the debate.

"The point is I can debate with Chua when his only official (government) position is as the PPC (Penang Port Commission) chairperson.

“(Thus) why can't the prime minister debate with the opposition leader and let Malaysians decide who is more qualified to be their leader," asked Lim.

Meanwhile, Lim also said that Chua has "a lot" explaining to do with regards to the privatisation of the Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) and that it was a loss-making outfit.

"As the PPC chairperson he really hammered the Penang Port's financial performance. I'm sure Penang Port will have a lot to answer tomorrow. Don't forget the Penang Port is run by Umno," he said.

The much-coveted port was privatised to tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary's Seaport Terminal recently, insisting that the deal will make the port more competitive.

Although the debate was mostly a mudslinging session, both speakers spoke at lenght about policy matters concerning the Penang Port.- malaysiakini

Perang mulut Soi Lek-Guan Eng dalam debat kedua...

Ibarat dalam satu peperangan hebat apabila seteru politik Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek dan Lim Guan Eng bertemu dalam debat kedua hari ini, dimana kedua-dua pihak saling menyalahkan satu sama lain mengenai kegagalan polisi parti masing-masing.

 chua lim debate 080712Dr. Chua menemplak Guan Eng dan DAP yang mengatakan DAP adalah parti berbilang kaum tetapi pemimpinnya hanya berani bertanding di kerusi yang majoritinya pengundi Cina.

“Kenapa tidak kamu bertanding dikerusi berbilang kaum? Kami jelas sebuah parti mono-etnik,” kata beliau dalam debat anjuran Institut Strategi dan Kepimpinan Asia (Asli) hari ini.

Tajuk debat adalah “Ahli politk mana yang lebih menguntungkan negara,” – merupakan debat kedua yang berlaku dalam beberapa bulan.

“Di negara ini, kita harus imbangkan keperluan dan sensitiviti rakyat seluruh negara.

Beliau menyalahkan DAP kerana menghasut masyarakat Cina kononnya mereka (masyarakat Cina) tertindas di bawah Barisan Nasional (BN). Beliau mengingatkan bahawa kadar kemiskinan masyarakat Cina adalah terendah berbanding kaum lain di negara ini.

“Peratusan bekerja, tertinggi. Pemilikan hartanah, tertinggi,” tambah beliau lagi.

“Kita tidak boleh nafikan dalam perlaksanaan polisi, pasti ada yang dapat lebih dari lain. Ini menyebabkan masyarakat Cina marah dengan kerajaan dan MCA menerima padahnya.”

Seteru politiknya bagaimanapun mempersoalkan tentang keperluan untuk memisahkan masyarakat mengikut kaum oleh BN tetapi memperkenalkan konsep 1Malaysia.

“Mereka kata 1Malaysia, nak tipu siapa? Mereka mahu pisahkan kita supaya mereka boleh ‘sapu Malaysia’,”kata Lim sambil disambut dengan sorakkan dari penyokongnya.

“BN akan terus guna isu kaum untuk takutkan kita sebab mereka sudah tiada isu lain. Jika kita mahu negara berjaya, beri peluang sama rata dan kita akan lihat potensi kita, kita harus tolak ekstrimis dari terus menerus memandang rendah pada kaum lain,” tambah beliau.

Menurut Lim, untuk mempertahankan keamanan negara, rakyat Malaysia harus bersatu menolak pihak yang mahu memisahkan rakyat dengan cara mempromosi kebencian kaum.

“Jangan biarkan BN gunakan isu kaum dan sentimen anti-Melayu hanya kerana mahukan kuasa,” desak Lim.

“Kita hanya boleh makmur jika bersama. Masa telah tiba untuk tumpukan dalam ekonomi, pekerjaan, pendidikan dan peluang perniagaan kerana ini adalah indikasi kemakmuran,” tambah beliau lagi.

Lim turut menyalahkan BN kerana amalkan rasuah dan kronisme, sambil mengatakan kerajaan tidak boleh melakukan reformasi untuk tamatkan rasuah.

“Kami tahu jika rasuah dihapuskan, BN akan mati. Jika kami tidak hapuskan rasuah, Malaysia akan mati. Pilihan yang ada sangat jelas,” kata Lim.

“Itu sebab kami pilih ‘ubah’, kami mahu hidup dengan merdeka dan bermaruah.”- malaysian insider

Pusingan kedua debat Lim, Chua