Minutes after Lim Kit Siang issued a media statement announcing his withdrawal from a debate with Najib Abdul Razak, the latter said he received information that Pakatan Harapan was planning to pull the plug on the event.
In a Facebook posting this evening, the former premier said there were concerns within Harapan and DAP that Lim could be defeated.
“I notice that there are steps put in motion to cancel the debate. They are worried Lim might be vanquished in the debate,” he added.
Lim had cited concerns that the debate could be used to stir up racial sentiments and denied that his decision was due to cowardice.
Meanwhile, Najib claimed there were also those in Harapan who are concerned that he would raise issues which Lim would find difficult to deflect, as well as expose the coalition's propaganda as lies and slander.
“Harapan should have full trust and confidence in Lim because he has been DAP's boss for more than 50 years.
“Harapan should know that nobody would be forced to watch the debate and that public funds would not be used for the event.
“In the spirit of democracy and transparency, let this debate proceed with the title suggested by DAP, which I had agreed to,” he added.
The debate was first mooted by Najib in a recent media interview due to Lim constantly attacking him in the latter's media statements over the 1MDB scandal.
Following this, the DAP veteran, who accepted the dare, suggested that the debate be on “How Malaysia became a global kleptocracy.”
Najib subsequently agreed to the title, but said that in fairness, other topics must also be included.