Najib says no point to debate with Anwar

(The Malaysian Insider) – Datuk Seri Najib Razak dismissed today a challenge by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to an open debate on economic policies, pointing out that voters did not need such an exercise to decide if they wanted Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Putrajaya.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim made the challenge after the prime minister scoffed at PR’s 100-day programme by describing it as “too good to be true” and claiming that the country would go bankrupt if the initiatives were implemented.

But Anwar hit back and said that if his coalition took over the federal government it would be able to fund the reforms by stamping out corruption.

Najib did not refuse outright the challenge to debate but questioned the point of such an exercise.

“If we want to debate, there must be an outcome from the debate.

“I do not see one and what is important is public opinion,” he told reporters after attending a luncheon with the national football team at Seri Perdana here.

He said both PR and BN could present their respective economic policies for the public to make an assessment.

The federal opposition coalition had promised in its convention last month that it would offer teachers an additional RM500 allowance per month, eliminate toll charges on highways and maintain subsidies on fuel.

Yesterday, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin also challenged Anwar to hold a debate with him instead of the prime minister, claiming that the opposition leader “is not up to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s level.”

“I will not stop him,” Najib added.