Scheduled debates turn out to be no-show


SANDAKAN: On paper, at least two debates were scheduled to take place yesterday, in lieu of the Batu Sapi by-election on Nov 4.

The first was to have involved one of the three candidates, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee, and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman.

The other, organised by another candidate, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate Ansari Abdullah, was to have involved him, Yong and Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Datin Linda Tsen Thau Lin.

However, the debates never saw the light of day when none of the suggested debators turned up.

Both Yong and Ansari tried to score points by calling for a debate — despite having been told in advance that their intended debate would not participate.

Yong even went as far as to publish a full-page advertisement in local dailies to inform the public of today’s debate at Dewan Hakka here at 1pm.

Musa had already said it was pointless to debate with Yong, while Yong, a former chief minister, brushed aside Ansari’s invitation for a debate at Sanbay Hotel at 2pm.

Yong had said he preferred to debate with opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, instead of Ansari.

Earlier, Tsen had also turned down Ansari’s invitation for a debate.

Why organise a debate when those invited to debate had already said they were not keen? Political analysts said such a strategy was normal to score as many points as they could, to project a picture that their opponents are scared to answer points raised by their opponents.

That explains why Yong immediately turned the supposely one-sided debate into a political ceramah at Dewan Hakka here after the supposed one-hour debate time expired.

Ansari unexpectedly turned up at Yong’s debate at Dewan Hakka although he was not invited, but left the hall after being told that “the debate was called off at 1pm due to a no-show by Musa”.

Ansari returned to the Sunbay Hotel where he was to hold “a separate debate with Yong and Tsen” but it turned out to be a political speech by Anwar.

Later, Yong sent a short message service to the media, stating that Ansari got his time wrong, and that PKR booked the same hall at 7pm, and not 1pm. — Bernama