Planned PKR debate falls through as hopefuls duck out


(MM Online) – Organisers were forced to cancel a debate between PKR’s deputy presidential hopefuls scheduled for tomorrow after just one candidate agreed to participate.

According to the organisers, outgoing PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution was the sole candidate confirming attendance for the programme jointly organised by niche magazine Posto and independent station Radio Bangsar Utama.

“Seeing as only Saifuddin Nasution alone was willing, therefore we decided to cancel this programme,” said spokesman Mohd Affandi Ramli in a statement.

“We apologise to our friends, PKR supporters from inside and outside the party, who would like to watch the programme but are disappointed with the cancellation.”

The event was previously scheduled in the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, originally for tonight, but was changed to tomorrow after clashes with the schedules of two candidates — incumbent Azmin Ali, and former Puchong branch chief S. Murali.

Three other candidates invited were Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, incumbent vice-president Chua Tian Chang, and Hulu Selangor branch member Datuk K. Ramachandram.

Chua and Murali have since withdrawn from the race.

Khalid and Ramachandran declined to enter any debates, leaving only Azmin as the sole potential opponent for Saifuddin in the event.

According to the organisers, attempts to get Azmin’s confirmation up until Friday were unsuccessful, leading them to cancel the debate.

Despite the regular challenges for its rivals to debate all manner of topics, including persistent demands for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to face off with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the party has not lined up any debate sessions involving candidates in the internal election.

Chua’s announcement to pull out on Thursday put the Batu MP firmly in alliance with Saifuddin’s camp for the party election.

On Tuesday, the outgoing secretary-general announced an alliance with both Rafizi and Nurul Izzah in his bid for the party’s deputy presidency.

Polling will follow at each branch from April 25 to May 11. The full results will be announced on May 13.