Mahfuz-Hishamudddin debate set for six rounds

Zakiah Koya

Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

The debate between PAS Youth chief Mahfuz Omar and his Umno Youth counterpart Hishammuddin Hussein will last two-and-half hours and be divided into six 'rounds'.

Mahfuz said this format was suggested by the moderator Royal Professor Ungku Aziz, whom he met last Friday, and he (Mahfuz) has agreed to this format.

"The theme of the debate will centre on Malay rights and privileges, the exploitation of these Malay rights and the future of the Malays.

"Ungku Aziz said the date would be between January 13 and February 24 next year. He suggested four places where the debate could be held, namely Dewan Merdeka at the Putra World Trade Centre, the Dewan Canselori at Universiti Malaya, Dektar at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and the Dewan Angkasa in Kelana Jaya.

"There will be two halls. One small hall where the debate will take place with an audience of 100 people comprising academicians and media, while the other hall, where the debate will be telecast live, will accommodate 1,000 people comprising supporters of both parties and others who are interested to attend.

"I personally would prefer the debate to take place in one hall itself but as Umno Youth has voiced their concerns of heckling and distraction by supporters during the course of the debate, Ungku Aziz feels this is perhaps the best solution," said Mahfuz.

Debate 'vital'

Giving his word that he will conduct himself in the most respectful manner throughout the debate, Mahfuz said that what was most important was the presentation of views from both parties.

"I believe that quoting the Quran should be all right if it is to support the stand taken by the debater. This debate will be the key as to whom actually divided and exploited the Malays. This debate will also explain the position, rights and privileges of the Malays to the Malays themselves," said Mahfuz.

Mahfuz also hoped there will be no interference and lobbying to prevent the debate from taking place from parties such as the Prime Minister's Department, the police and the Conference of the Rulers.

"This debate is vital to the future of Malays, the country and religion," said Mahfuz, who said he has set up a team to assist him in his preparation for the debate.

As to whether Hishammuddin had agreed to the format, Mahfuz said that he was told by Ungku Aziz that "Hishamuddin has not refused".

Attempts by malaysiakini to contact Hishammuddin were not successful.

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