MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong furnished a list of people whom Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had challenged to a debate in the past, which included former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar.
“Is your rank only high enough to debate senior civil servants?” he asked the DAP secretary-general on a sarcastic note.
Previously, Lim had dismissed Wee's challenge to debate on the Penang undersea tunnel issue on the grounds that the latter was not qualified.
As the highest ranked DAP leader, the chief minister said only MCA president Liow Tiong Lai was qualified to issue the challenge to him.
However, Wee recalled how Lim once challenged then minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop to debate on the extension of the concession period for the Penang bridge and Butterworth-Kulim expressway.
“Nor Mohamed was only a federal minister. He had no posts in Umno,” he added.
Wee said on April 7, 2016, Lim accepted a challenge by then minister of urban wellbeing, housing and local government Abdul Rahman Dahlan to debate the sale of the Taman Manggis land in Penang.
“Yet, Abdul Rahman is only BN’s strategic communication director,” he added.
On Feb 7, 2017, Wee said Lim challenged Minister of Federal Territories Tengku Adnan Mansor, who is also the Umno secretary-general, to debate on making Penang a federal territory.
“Incredibly, on Sept 1, 2014, Lim even challenged the then IGP, who is also a civil servant, to debate the controversy over Penang's Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS).
“Khalid is not even a member of any political party. So, what happened to only debating at your level?” he asked.
Challenge based on valid suspicions
Wee reiterated that his public debate challenge was based on valid suspicions regarding the tunnel project.
Instead of accepting the dare, the MCA leader claimed that Lim chose to be arrogant and ignored him on the grounds that his rank was lower.
“Do I not merit the same courtesy as those people that Lim had challenged to a debate?
“I lead the MCA as deputy president and as a member of the federal cabinet. Are you insinuating that my posts rank lower than any of those above?
“Or is it because I am Chinese? Or it is simply because you think the Chinese will always support DAP, so it excuses you from explaining anything to them?
“And is this why Pakatan Harapan's manifesto has no specific promises for the Chinese, especially on the development of Chinese schools?” he asked.
Wee, who is a minister in the Prime Minister's Department, asked if Lim was so confident of wiping out MCA in the next election so there would be no opponents to perform check and balance.
“It is strange that Lim is always challenging people to debate him seemingly without caring about their rank. But now, he insists on rank when I invite him for a debate?
“Furthermore, I challenged him in his capacity as chief minister on a subject that concerns the state government of Penang, and nothing to do with his position as secretary-general of DAP,” he added.
Wee accused Lim of being an expert at finding excuses to deny accusations and highlighted the photograph of the chief minister with a businessperson arrested by MACC over the undersea tunnel project.
“Lim claims they are just two public figures standing. Please. Any reasonable person would see the background of the photo was definitely at home. Moreover, they were both bare feet in that photo.
“What public figure would normally be seen photographed with bare feet in public unless at the home of someone vital and important to his agenda?” he asked.
Questioning if double standard was DAP's modus operandi, Wee accused its leaders of conjuring tonnes of excuses to justify their actions.
“If Lim can debate the then minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nor Mohamed.
“Then why not debate with me, who is now the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department? Obviously, he is hiding something and have no guts to accept my challenge,” he added.