The great Malaysian debate – don’t hold your breath

Martin Vengadesan

Modified 23 May 2019, 3:49 am

COMMENT | And so it has come to pass that in the course of trading barbs, our former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and his fiery foe Lim Kit Siang have challenged each other to a debate. About the kleptocracy. Freestyle, no less.

How exciting! It sure rings a bell, doesn’t it? It seems like there have been dozens of challenges over the years. And indeed there have been.

But try to cast your mind back to a really stirring debate that actually materialised. One that impacted upon public policy and lives long in the memory because of the witty exchanges and high intellectual path.

That’s not so easy, is it?

In fact, this isn’t even the first time Kit Siang and Najib have drawn their swords, only for them to be sheathed without the drawing of blood. In July 2018, Kit Siang challenged Najib to a public forum over Najib's continued insistence that the DAP veteran had linked kleptocracy with Islam.

Do you recall it happening? Well, you shouldn’t - because it didn’t.

In fact, considering that a primary function of their job is to discuss and argue the merits of legislation in Parliament, our parliamentarians seem to run scared when it comes to a formal debate.

Over the past decade, it seems to have cropped up many times...

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