Ahmad Shabery-Anwar Debate A One-off Affair?

By Alan Ting

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 (Bernama) — Should public debate, akin to that on the issue of fuel price on Tuesday night, be seen as a progress in the country’s political culture and be made a catalyst in improving governance?

While there are certainly matters that deserve such debate, some quarters argue that certain issues are much too complex and sensitive in nature, thus to discuss them publicly may not be a wise option.

Nevertheless, Tuesday’s debate between Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,

Membidas dan Mencadang

Membidas dan Mencadang

was seemingly well-received by politicians and the public, and regarded by some as a breath of fresh air in the country’s complex and sometimes stale communal-centric politics.

It is the first but judging from the response, it is likely that it would not be the last as there are already suggestions that more such debate be held in the future.

“The time has come for us to move away from personality-centric politics. Such debate would allow politicians to discuss their policies and approaches in dealing with various issue. Debate is part of a mature democracy and we should be moving to that,” said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng.

DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said Malaysians should adopt debate as part of the political process of a country, saying the United States started it in 1960 when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon had their first televised presidential debate.

“It took nearly 50 years for us to institute such debate. I commended Ahmad Shabery for that, but my concern is how such openess can be accepted by party hardliners?” said Liew, the Bukit Bendera member of parliament.

Ahmad Shabery himself expressed the hope that debate would become a culture in Malaysian politics.

“I received various comments (about the debate), some expressing supports and some voicing anger. But that is normal.

“The important thing is whether we will go to the extent of institutionalising debate in our political system,” he said amid praise for his his openess and bravery for taking take up the debate.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was seemingly receptive to the idea when he said that the government was willing to consider allowing debates on current issues after studying the impact of Tuesday’s debate.

Najib agreed with popular opinion that generally, the debate between Ahmad Shabery Cheek and Anwar was well-received, saying, “We’ll look at the people’s reaction later, content is one thing and style, another”.

Kupas Mengupas

Kupas Mengupas

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar sees the participation of a Cabinet minister in the debate as a mark of a new era in the government’s policy of openness.

“This proves that the government is sincere and we have shown the people what our policies are,” he said, agreeing that the debate format was good.

With such overwhelming feedback, some quarters had gone a step ahead by suggesting that the format be adopted in party elections.

Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik suggested that Umno take the lead by allowing debates among those vying for the posts of president, deputy president and vice-presidents in December’s party election.

“This will provide an opportunity for all candidates to give their views and enable delegates to pick the most appropriate person for each post,” he said.

Abdul Rahim said by giving the candidates a chance to debate, the delegates would be able to gauge their authority, thinking skills as well as ability to handle current issues.

Gerakan secretary-general Chia Kwang Chye is also keen on the debate to be featured in party elections. “There is no hard and fast rule about it. If they want it, why not?” he said.

He said debates would be a much healthier practice than having candidates going to the media “to trade statements”, which sometime could turn ugly.

MCA Youth secretary-general Wee Ka Siong said, “it takes two hands to clap” and such debate should be treated as “the forum to say what they want to do rather than to get publicity.”

“I have no problem with that (to have debates). The society now are demanding for more transparency and accountability,” he said.

Wee, who has frequently appeared on talk shows aired by local television stations, pointed out that in the past, there were occasions where debates of similar nature had been held in MCA.

— BERNAMA

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Untung atau Rugi?

Pada hari berkenaan, bertarikh 15 Julai, saya tidak dapat mengikuti agenda ini 100% kerana menghadiri kelas tuisyen di Seksyen 4 Tambahan, Bandar Baru Bangi. Antara rugi dan untung. Rugi kerana tidak dapat mengikuti siaran langsung dan untung dapat mencuri masa untuk mengajar anak didik. Namun, kedua-duanya saya pastikan diakhiri dengan untung. Siaran tertunda saya ikuti khusyuk di salah sebuah restoran di Seksyen 15, BBB bersama rakan yang baru saya jemput dari Stesyen Komuter UKM. Sehingga jam 12 pagi, baru kami pulang ke rumah. Namun, saya puas!

Dua Penghujah

Kita sedia maklum bahawa, kedua-dua penghujah tersebut adalah Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Menteri Penerangan Malaysia dan Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Kesediaan Penghujah

Tafsiran saya, mereka berdua nampaknya mempunyai cukup persediaan untuk mengisi ruang masa bagi mempersembahan bahan hujahan. Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek berjaya melontarkan ‘fakta’nya dengan baik. Tetapi saya dapati ia banyak diulang. Begitu juga Dato’ Seri. Kepada kedua-dua pihak, saya ucapkan syabas kerana anda sekalian memberikan kami (rakyat) fakta-fakta ekonomi yang sebenarnya perlu kami tahu.

Namun dari segi kesediaan perdebatan, Dato’ Seri lebih menunjukkan kesediaan yang rasional. Mengorek kelemahan peribadi penghujah bukanlah suatu method perdebatan yang baik kerana mereka kena kenal bahawa rakyat juga bukan penganalisis yang tidak bijak. Ruang masa yang diperuntukkan haruslah diisi bijak daripada para penghujah. Di sini, saya memberi kredit kepada Dato’ Seri kerana mampu menggunakan segenap ruang masa untuk mengetengahkan pendapat beliau.

Pujian

Saya kira, ini merupakan perdebatan pertama yang berjaya dikelolakan oleh media massa secara sihat. Lupakan dahulu soal laporan media cetak.  Tahniah kepada pengurusan Kementerian Penerangan kerana kali ini mampu mengizinkan siaran sebegini dilangsungkan. Mudah-mudahan esok lusa ada lagi ruang kepada mana-mana pihak yang ingin mengetengahkan isu berdebat dengan modal pusingan yang 50 : 50. Ini langkah positif kerajaan (BN) untuk menunjukkan BN bukanlah parti yang mengongkong media dan memonopoli medium penyebaran berita iaitu siaran televisyen. Tahniah! Tahniah!

Kesal

Berkenaan dengan laporan daripada media cetak, kebanyakkan pendapat adalah datangnya dari side kroni sahaja. Pendapat saya, selain daripada penganalisis politik, media massa harus menggunakan medium mereka untuk mengetengahkan pendapat rakyat awam. Sekali lagi, bertindaklah adil dalam memilih pendapat. Jangan semua yang pujian-pujian belaka. Kritikan adalah penaiktarafan. Jadi, yang busuk-busuk pun apa salahnya dipaparkan baik dari penghujah A atau penghujah B.

Kesimpulan

Perdebatan ini haruslah diadili. Oleh siapa? Kenapa?

Pihak yang mengadili bukanlah emosi kita. Habis siapa? Hati dan akal kita sendiri. Bukan kawan-kawan mahupun tok nenek kita. Tapi ingat, sejarah juga ada peranannya. “Learn from history”. Di sini, boleh tanya tok nenek. Jernih keruh pemimpin sekarang mudah juga untuk ditaksir.

Rakyat Bijak Fikir, Ada Ruang Buat Keputusan, Baru Ada Ummph!

Rakyat Bijak Fikir, Ada Ruang Buat Keputusan, Baru Ada Ummph!

Kata rakyat dah bijak? Jadi, jangan ikut telunjuk sahaja. Kena berfikir dan selidik apa penghujah kita bahaskan. Barulah ummpphh jadi rakyat! Kualiti!

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