PETALING JAYA, 5 May 2009: After challenging former de facto Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim to a debate, Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim is now keeping mum.
Repeated attempts by The Nut Graph to contact Rais’s office for comment on the possibility of a televised debate have been met with silence.
The ball is now in Rais’s court. On 24 April, Zaid was quoted as saying that he was open to face Rais “anywhere, any place, anytime”, provided that the minister was specific on the debate topic.
Rais challenged Zaid to a public debate on 24 April over the latter’s allegations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Rais issued the dare while commenting on former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that there was a continuous and concerted effort by groups such as the foreign press to put Najib in bad light.
“I want to have a debate with those trying to implicate our leader with unbecoming and nonsensical words,” Rais said.
On 29 April, The Nut Graph contacted AgendaDaily, who said that they were willing to arrange a live televised debate, provided that both parties agreed.
“If Rais gives a clear indication that he is open to it, we are willing to jump in and organise something,” said AgendaDaily editor-in-chief Rosli Ismail.
AgendaDaily, an online news portal, sponsored the “Form the government today, reduce fuel prices tomorrow” debate between Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek last year.
Later in the same year, the online news portal organised a live debate between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and his predecessor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon on a land scam in the state.