Dr Raman Letchumanan: Despite my revulsion to this
much-touted 'Debat Perdana', my curiosity about two ‘ketuanan’
protectors clowning on stage got the better of me. I watched it live,
and couldn't sleep after that!
My verdict is PKR president Anwar
Ibrahim won. But his performance was not spectacular. Former prime
minister Najib Abdul Razak got trapped by his own lies. Anwar could have
gone for the killer blow in the first round itself but goofed. Malaysiakini has been analysing
the spins, half-truths and lies told by Najib. It surprised me that
Najib was on the defensive and stumbling for words, and ended up
Basically, he was making a general election
campaign speech. Not the 15th general election, but a repeat of the 14th
general election, singing repeated praises of mega projects, GST (goods
and services tax), cash is king, etc. Anwar was caught up with
his transparency, accountability, good governance, integrity, and
anti-corruption mantra in every round. So much so that he was skirting
the key issues throughout.
On the main item of oil and gas
company Sapura Energy, Anwar could have landed the knock-out punch. PKR
vice-president Rafizi Ramli probably did not brief him. But I have
got to give it to Najib. He has graduated from 'I don't know, I was not
aware, everyone schemed against me, etc' in court to unabashedly
promoting his 'theories' which no sane person will believe, and has been
It was an easy win for Anwar, but Anwar failed to capitalise on it. The
two questions in the Q&A (question and answer) session summed up
the whole 'debate', or rather more a prepared script reading. Both Anwar
and Najib were caught because they couldn't anticipate the questions.
It was most telling of their leadership, intelligence and capacity to
think on their feet.
The young female doctor asked a pertinent
question - why Najib believes in cash is king as well as the issue of
inflation due to rising overnight policy rate. But
Najib had to waste half the previous time by buttering up the doctor,
drawing an analogy to her profession. This is a favourite diversionary
tactic for someone who couldn't answer the question. Najib went
on to drop a bombshell - that ‘king’ (in his ‘cash is king’ mantra)
refers to the rakyat, and he believes in giving as much direct cash as
But that works against rising inflation, where the cash
becomes worthless. Did anyone say Najib was a former prime minister and
finance minister? But what takes the cake is the question posed
to Anwar. It was by PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil to his boss
Anwar. Basically, what are the policies moving forward? Anwar was
caught unprepared and repeated his mantra on integrity, transparency,
etc. So, it is all much ado over nothing. And the lesser of the evil had won.
it gave a very useful lesson to our police force - that is, to go easy
on gatherings and debates. Malaysia can survive with a little bit of
freedom of association and expression.
OCT: A convicted felon is painting himself as a
white knight destined to save Malaysia when he is the root cause of all
the troubles. His suggestions are for correcting his irresponsible acts
of allegedly stealing billions of ringgit. Malaysia is a
despairing and pathetic country when it needs a kleptocrat and liar to
teach itself how to practice good governance.
No prime minister
from Dr Mahathir Mohamad onwards has delivered good governance when they
are in power. All of them are filthy rich and powerful through their
unscrupulous connivance with their cronies and supporters. A
convicted felon should be ashamed of himself and asked for forgiveness,
but not Najib. He is arrogant, egoistic and narcissistic.