1MDB Debate: Will RMC triumph again over MCKK if Arul takes on Rafizi?


Malaysian Digest

The much anticipated 1MDB debate on live TV which was supposed to take place today hit a snag yesterday when DAP withdrew Tony Pua, their star crusader against 1MDB due to concerns that he might lose his seat on the Public Accounts Committee.

After it was announced that Rafizi Ramli had come forward to replace Tony Pua in the 1MDB debate, speculation has heated up again over the prospect of seeing two charismatic debaters dominate the stage.

However, a live debate between Arul Kanda and Rafizi Ramli will also see two alumni of elite Malaysian educational institutions reunite for a battle royale, much like their schooling days in the Royal Military College (RMC) and the Malay College of Kuala Kangsar (MCKK).

RMC vs MCKK could soon start trending on social media once the public pick up on the background of these two individuals who are familiar figures in the political and financial scene but not much has been written about their past until recently.

Rafizi had made the first reference to their early schooling days and the 1MBD’s president fame as a champion debater leading his RMC debate team to victory in the Prime Minister’s Cup (PPM) many times during the 1990s.

“In the ‘90s, the PPM was won repeatedly by RMC (Royal Military College) helmed by one Arulkanda Kandasamy,” he wrote in his Facebook posting which was reported by several local online news portals last weekend.

In January this year, when news broke that Arul has been appointed into the hot seat as 1MDB president and CEO, Rafizi had also revealed that he and Arul knew each other since secondary school days, when both were active in the debating circuit, in an interview with an online news portal.

After Rafizi’s Facebook posting made headlines, the 1MDB president responded to media enquiries about his schooling days and confirmed his award-winning run leading the RMC debate team back then.

“I was the youngest ever winner of the International Plain Speaking Award in Form Two, representing Malaysia in Australia, and the rest was PPM history until Form Five,” he texted, reports a local news daily.

PKR’s secretary-general Rafizi Ramli’s own schooling days was equally impressive having garnered a string of debating titles, winning the PPM cup in 1992 and 1993 as well as its top debater title and emerging champion in the Sri Paduka Sultan Perak Cup debate in 1993, according to his own PKR biodata posted online.

He even received the best student award at MCKK, being personally congratulated by none other than former Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also an alumni of MCKK himself.

As pointed out by Rafizi in his Facebook posting, RMC used to beat MCKK when Arul was helming the RMC debate team. Will history repeat itself if the live TV debate does take place between Arul and Rafizi?

The Malay College of Kuala Kangsar was established in 1905 while the Royal Military College started operations in 1952. Both institutions have nurtured legions of elite students who are now captains of industry, politics and finance in Malaysia so a live debate pitting RMC against MCKK will find a ready audience and supporters for both camps.