It’s not even a battle of wits, says Chua

(The Star) – THERE was no winner or loser in the high-profile debate between MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and it was not a battle of wits.

Dr Chua said this when asked to assess his performance and that of his opponent’s at a joint press conference with Lim after the hour-long live telecast debate in the capital.

The 65-year-old said he saw the people as winners in the debate as it was aimed at giving them a clearer understanding of the Barisan Nasional and MCA relationship and that of the Pakatan Rakyat and DAP.

He praised Lim, saying he was a formidable and experienced debater who has been debating for the last 20 years.

“He is young, energetic and knowledgeable,” he said of the 52-year-old Penang Chief Minister.

On the proposal from Lim that there should be a debate between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Chua said he would convey the proposal to Najib.

To a question, he said it was up to Najib and Anwar to decide whether they would go for the debate.

Lim said he treated the inaugural battle of wits between him and Dr Chua as the first step to “something bigger”.

Urging more political leaders to participate in such public discourse, Lim said he hoped the next showdown would feature Najib and Anwar, who are chiefs of the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat coalitions respectively.

“A debate is part and parcel of a democracy where everyone has the right to dissent and consent.

“In the future, I hope there will be a debate in a language that is understood by all Malaysians.

“This is a good start and I hope it’s not the last.”

Lim also said the debate attracted a huge interest because public debates were not yet a norm in the Malaysian political arena.