Rais rejects bloggers Tenang debate offer

(Bernama) – The best place for a debate is in the Parliament, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

Many people had made suggestions that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Umno Youth head and so on participated in debates, but the most suitable place for them is at the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara.

“If the Dewan Negara, it is considered as the second house, but the golden opportunity for the opposition is at the Dewan Rakyat. The opposition should use the Dewan Rakyat as the place for debates at the highest and most effective level.

“Debating outside will only be for publicity and will not bring any decision. But if it is at the Dewan Rakyat, a particular issue will be debated in depth but not with emotion or any other detrimental manner,” he told reporters after a function in conjunction with the Chinese New Year, here today.

He said this when commenting on the report by the Independent Bloggers Group (KUBID) last Thursday offering themselves to organise a debate between the two candidates contesting in the by-election for the Tenang state seat, Mohd Azhar Ibrahim from the Barisan Nasional and the PAS candidate, Normala Sudirman. 

Rais, who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelebu, said each member of the House should debate in a civilised and prudent manner.

He said as such the best and appropriate debate was in parliament.

“The facility has been prepared and we must do justice to it in the best way possible.

“For example, in the United Kingdom, they are not debating outside the House. But during elections, any invitation to debate may be acceptable as the Dewan Rakyat is not in session.

“In the United States, why should they hold debate outside the Congress? The reason is that the Congress is not in session.

“But in our country, we have at least three Dewan Rakyat sessions a year and the opposition leader or PAS and PKR leaders can bring up any issue for debate.

“So I concluded that if you want to argue outside the House, it is merely craving for coverage, not seriously expecting results that could help the country,” he said.

At the ceremony, Rais handed donations totalling RM110,000 to 195 elderly people and non-governmental organisations. — Bernama