‘Anwar shuns debate due to fear factor’


(FMT) – Anwar Ibrahim’s refusal to debate Zaid Ibrahim has left the latter accusing the Opposition leader of being too afraid to face him.

“I don’t think he’s afraid of me, but he is afraid of the people. He has built his image, so he doesn’t want that image to be dispelled. Maybe a debate with me would probably impact his image a bit,” Zaid told FMT.

Last week, the former Cabinet minister and independent candidate for the March 23 Kajang by-election had issued a challenge to debate with Anwar on issues ranging from personality to policies.

Such a debate would allow the Kajang voters to decide who is a more credible individual, Zaid had told FMT in an exclusive interview today.

But when met by reporters yesterday, Anwar unexpectedly backed off from the invitation, saying it was “not in [his] programme.”

Anwar’s refusal to debate Zaid runs contrary to his own habit of issuing challenges to Najib Tun Razak for a debate.

Despite this, Zaid today stopped short of calling Anwar a hypocrite, saying instead it was up to the people to decide what Anwar’s actions spoke of him.

But Zaid did express disappointment at this turn of events, saying it would deprive Kajang voters of the “real reason” the Permatang Pauh MP was contesting the state seat.

“It will be a loss of opportunity for Kajang voters to know all the issues – the conflict between Pakatan Rakyat, why he wants to remove Khalid Ibrahim.

“But it’s okay; I will still explain all this to voters,” assured Zaid.