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Zahid willing to join TV debate, but from his home base

Published:  |  Modified:

Umno presidential hopeful Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will only join the televised debate with Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah if he could participate from his home base of Bagan Datoh.

Zahid told Astro Awani, the organiser for the televised debate, this during a live interview this evening.

"If the intention was not to split Umno into three or at least two sides, I am willing (to participate) through a (live) telecast from Bagan Datoh.

"At the time, I need to be with my party delegates because elections will fall on the following day.

"I need to be with the administrators of Bagan Datoh Umno to take care of their needs. I am a grassroots leader. I understand how they feel. I have never ignored them," he said.

Tengku Razaleigh had first mooted the debate among Umno presidential candidate which Khairy quickly accepted. Both RTM and Astro Awani offered themselves as hosts.

However, senior Umno member Annuar Musa suggested that this was not a good idea to expose internal affairs to "outsiders" and "enemies".

"We should conduct our internal affairs in an orderly manner, with wisdom. Do not let the enemy decide on our internal strategy," said Annuar.

Zahid appeared to have been caught off guard by Astro Awani host Kamarul Bahrin's final question on whether he would join the televised debate.

Zahid's reply was to cite Annuar's apprehensions on the debate first before coming up with a condition for his participation. 

The debate between Khairy and Tengku Razaleigh is slated for Astro Awani on June 29 at 9.30pm while Umno presidential elections will take place the following day involving five candidates.

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