My regular mamak haunt is where i have a fairly good relationship with the owner and the waiters. Good enough that I could ask them to change the TV channel to NTV7 last night and they did.
At first not many noticed what was going on, but by 9.20pm many regulars have assembled to watch the debate. Enough so that the waiters were busy carrying chairs to overcrowded tables.
This is the second such live debate on national TV, organised by online news media Agendadaily.com after last month’s verbal boxing match between Pakatan Rakyat’s Anwar Ibrahim and Information Minister Shabery Cheek.
I must say the quality of last night’s debate was higher. Former Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon and current CM Lim Guan Eng largely kept to the topic at hand; the land issue in Penang and what it will cost the government.
I got such a kick out of watching two middle-aged Malaysian politicians of Chinese descent, debating on live TV, in impeccable Bahasa Malaysia. Really great, that.
Lim Guan Eng is obviously the better one of the two in mastery of the language, command of the floor and his ease with public speaking.
So much so that Koh, who is no shy virgin, comes off looking often stuck and defensive at times. Koh doesn’t look so nice as he said, “I’m baffled why this issue is blown out of proportion. The public gave them mandate to rule, but they just keep digging dirt and blaming the previous government.”
To which Guan Eng had his CAT(Competency, Accountability, Transparency) weapon ready. He said in line with this principle, the Penang govt needs to demonstrate its transparency.
Koh said, “Why do they harp on the RM40 million as if we have already lost it, when we are still fighting in court to reduce damages?”
Lim said such a thing happened because of a mistake on the land office’s side. A mistake that Koh said took place 40 years ago.
That must be in the late 60s….hmm. I was thinking, if there wasn’t a check made to this system, it would have gone on, wouldn’t it?
I wonder what other murky deals are happening elsewhere in the country.
Guan Eng also brought up the issue of why the officers involved were just transferred, asking did the previous govt want the perps to do the same thing in another department? This question wasn’t properly answered by Koh, I must say.
Overall, the debate never arrived a solution. Guan Eng scored major points although Koh reiterates that he (Guan Eng) only tells half the story of what really happened and politicises it.
The winner? The public, for sure. Now we get these pols actually talking about these issues of governance and accountability in public. We get to gauge for ourselves.
This is a far cry from the past, even as near as last year. I still remember way back when Najib was Education Minister in the 90s and was asked by a reporter about an issue (I forgot exactly what), he said, “I don’t have to explain.”
Now you guys see the benefit of NOT giving these pols a landslide mandate? No longer can they continue blatantly stealing and pillaging, and thumb their noses at us.
Thank you Malaysia, for March 8. Without it, we would not have seen such debates as last night’s.
Make up your own mind.