Making a stand: Dr Koh (right) making a point as Lim smiles and listens at the debate between the two men in Kuala Lumpur last night.
Thursday, 21 August 2008
This Is How A Debate Should Be Done
Last night the second debate that I hope will be a series of debates between a member of both opposing political parties was held and this time it was the stalwarts that carried the mantle, resulting in a more balanced and informative repartee between the two parties. Penang's former Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Su Koon showed how its done when he refused to be baited into making personal attacks or politicising the issue at hand, i.e., the supposedly widespread land scams that happened under the previous administration, but defended that that administration actually had an almost perfect record of 99.9 percent in handling land matters. Although this was greeted cynically by the current Chief Minister Mr Lim Guan Eng, the pregnant pause immediately after that seems to imply that we shall see if his administration could do better. As it is, he had already waffled when after declaring grandly that his state administration will eliminate hard-core poor in one year, he then said that these land scams would distract his administration from achieving just that. Walauwey! If he already knew that, why make that declaration in the first place eh? Anyway if your state administration is any good, you should be able to overcome all the challenges that comes at you right. Otherwise you would begging off and whining away instead of doing your job when you are unable to meet your objectives so where would that put you Competency, Accountablity and Transparency slogan?
Well to sum up, I congratulate Tan Sri in showing that having such a debate is a good way to be transparent as he mentioned that having 'private meetings' to thrash out such political issues may result in a party twisting the facts discussed, and even though as he pointed out also his direct questions to the Chief Minister was left unanswered he was gentlemanly enough to let it slide. He stuck to his facts and let them speak on his behalf, and I believe the audience appreciated this. He also managed to highlight the Chief Minister's penchant for saying half-truths to which the CM had no reply. Anyway a word on the audience, I do not know who they are but I must congratulate on their non-partisanship as compared to the previous debate, though someone seems to have brought his own cheerleading squad who clapped on their own even though there was no support from the others. I guess this time they were really interested to discover the facts rather than hear more political rhetoric, and Tan Sri was right in serving up what they wanted. So it is now up to you to determine who is right or wrong without any political sentiments. And I hope the next time around, more party stalwarts will take up the mantle to debate more issues of great public interest publicly and let the public be the judge.