BN ready for political debates, says Ku Nan

(The Malaysian Insider) – Barisan Nasional (BN) is ready to take on the opposition in debates, its secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said today.

“We are open (to participating) if there are any (challenges),” Tengku Adnan was quoted as saying today by the Star Online after handing out BR1M aid to 1,600 recipients in Putrajaya.

He described debates such as the one held yesterday between MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as “healthy”.

The highly anticipated debate between the two rivals drew a full house of 800 and was screened on Astro in Mandarin and also with a Malay translation.

Tengku Adnan’s statement today comes despite BN chief Datuk Seri Najib Razak having so far refused to take on Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in a debate.

The PKR de facto leader has repeatedly challenged the prime minister to a public debate on national policies and the country’s direction.

Anwar has said an open debate between himself and Datuk Seri Najib Razak would let voters decide for themselves if the opposition pact’s policies had merit.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has criticised PR’s alternative policies as populist and mere rhetoric.

Najib has so far declined to go head-to-head with the former deputy prime minister, saying that political parties were more important than individuals in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy.

However, Najib also stressed that he would not have baulked had he been required to face off against the charismatic Anwar in a presidential-style debate.

“I’m not afraid of Anwar Ibrahim,” Najib has said to loud cheers from delegates at the close of the Selangor BN convention in September last year.