In the wake of the Budget 2012 unveiled by Najib, who is also Finance Minister, Anwar had issued the challenge. It is the second time since Najib took over as PM in 2009, that Anwar has thrown down the gauntlet.
On both occassions, Anwar had called for public discourse on the national economy but despite huge public backing for the debate, Najib has shied away for one reason or another. This has prompted accusations that he was "chicken".
The PM's record size RM232 billion budget has been widely panned by financial experts as a mess of election goodies and one-off cash 'bribes'. Yet it failed to elicit positive response from the populace who worry that the country was headed for bankruptcy by 2019 due to Najib's reckless spending.
Since coming to power in 2009, the 58-year-old Najib has fallen into one scrape after another despite spending hundreds of million on expensive public relations firms. His inability and lack of political will to introduce much needed long-term reforms are the root cause for his deepening unpopularity.
“After the debate between Anwar and Shabery, the people found out that the oil price in the country can be brought down. Same goes with Najib should he accepts Anwar’s challenge, that he will have a ‘fever’ soon after that,” Keadilandaily.com reported Shamsul as saying.
Shamsul was referring to a 2008 debate challenge Anwar had issued to then premier Abdullah Badawi, who was quick to pass the buck to Shabery Cheek, the information minister at that time.
The people have the right to know and take part in the discourse
There is no way Prime Minister Najib Razak will dare to take up the debate challenge from Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, otherwise, he might get a "fever", says PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin.
A gifted orator and a former Finance minister, Anwar had called on Najib to openly discuss economic issues and grouses after the PM criticized the Pakatan Rakyat’s Prosperity for All Budget and praised his own instead.
Anwar had also said the debate must be held soon and be accessible by the public because the issues surrounding the government's Budget 2012 had not been properly explained to the people.
Shsamsul also slammed Najib for the poor performance of his administration, especially its failure to curb corruption. The recently released Auditor-General's Report for 2010 had pointed to discrepancies at no less than 32 ministries and federal agencies.
Both Anwar and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang echoed his views.
"The first public conclusion from the 2010 Auditor-General’s Reports is that there is no difference between Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Transformation Policy and his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s “Islam Hadhari” – as horror tales of financial hanky-panky, mismanagement and misappropriations continue unchanged, year in and year out, whether under Najib, Abdullah or even Tun Mahathir’s time as Prime Minister," said Kit Siang in a statement.
“The poorly managed Poverty Eradication Programme under the Implementation Coordination Unit in Prime Minister’s Department with an allocation of RM691.52 million, has been found to have failed to meet 54.4 percent of its objective," said Anwar, adding that the audit proved Najib's grand transformation plans were just "hot air".
Enggan Sahut debat Anwar, mengapa Najib takut?