Sunday, 8 July 2012

Updated @5:50pm : Soi Lek vs Guan Eng debate Round 2 - Malaysiankini report

Political opponents Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng will face each other for the second time in a public debate today, in a battle that is likely to transcend the duo’s personal egos right into the hearts and minds of the Chinese voters.

After the inaugural Mandarin debate in February, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) is hosting today’s face-off in English to reach a wider audience, with over 1,400 expected to turn up.

NONETitled ‘Whose policies benefit the country more?’ MCA chief Chua and DAP sec-gen and Penang chief minister Lim will speak on their respective coalitions’ blueprints for the country.

While Round 1 was broadcasted live over Astro, this round will however see a delayed telecast at 11pm tonight on Astro AEC with a simultaneous Bahasa Malaysia translation on Astro Awani.
Moderating is Asli chief executive officer Michael Yeo, while the panellists are Housing and Local Government Minister and MCA vice-president Chor Chee Heung, DAP party organ Rocketkini’s chief editor Wan Hamidi Hamid and Asli representative Monash University’s School of Social Sciences head James Chin.

And this time round, questions from the floor will be in written form only, to be drawn at random from a box by the moderator, possibly to avoid the Miss Towtruck fiasco last year.


2.30pm: The hall erupts as rival supporters stand up to welcome the debaters.

lim chua debate 080712Loud jeers accusing Lim of "lying" are heard from MCA supporters as Lim walks in.

DAP members counter with chants of "MCA samseng".

2.43pm: Lim and Chua takes to the stage and moderator Michael Yeo goes through the guidelines. He remind supporters to exhibit decorum and warns them against being unruly.

Each debater is given 10 minutes to address the floor followed by the first sets of question from moderator. The panellist then pose their questions followed by the third set of questions from the floor.

2.45pm: Lots are drawn and Lim is the first to speak. He starts off his speech by speaking in Bahasa Malaysia and welcoming the crowd with “Salam Bersih”.

He is speaking in a mix of English and Bahasa Malaysia, despite the fact that the event was billed as a English debate.

2.47pm: Despite earlier calls for calm by Yeo, rival supporters could be heard jeering and cheering.

2.55pm: Now it is Chua's turn to deliver his opening remark. Like Lim, he chose to deliver his opening remarks in Bahasa Malaysia.

Chua says MCA does not support Lim's call for a debate between Najib Abdul Razak and Anwar Ibrahim.

This is because Najib has been busy over the past three years on his transformation programmes but while Anwar was busy spewing rhetoric.

Thus far, Yeo has called for order twice to control the boisterous crowd.

lim chua debate 0807123.07pm: After Chua completes his opening remarks, the next session kicks off with Yeo asking questions to both speakers.

He poses his first question to Chua, asking him what is MCA doing to address the drop in support from the urban voters.

As for Lim, Yeo asks whether DAP is truly a multi-racial party and what will it do to attract non-Chinese voters.

Chua replies his question claiming the Chinese are still controlling the biggest chunk of the economy.

“We established the TAR college to provide affordable and quality education. I advice DAP, set up a kindergarten (in Penang) if you can,” he adds.

3.15pm: Lim takes his turn to answer the question directed to him.  “We are a multiracial party. We have an Indian chairperson and we have Indian MPs. We have had Malay Mps,” he says.

“In fact I went to prison for a Malay family. But Umno instigated that DAP is anti-Malay.

“I would like to let the MCA president know that not every Chinese can get permanent residence in Australia. The Chinese pay the highest (amount of) taxes in the country.

“The RM52 billion, what happened to it? We ask for BN to set up an RCI but they don't. They sweep everything under the carpet.

“I’ll tell you why MCA set up TAR college, it is because there is a quota for Chinese students to enter public universities, and therefore the need (for MCA) to compensate for it,” says Lim.

3.19pm: The debate is now going through a five-minute adjournment to allow those on the floor to submit written questions.
lim chua debate 080712Earlier, the floor was in an uproar after Lim replied Chua's earlier suggest that DAP should set up a kindergarden with the public funds that it had collected through non-transparent means.

Lim said that DAP's party is to design policy for the future, not to set up kindergardens or colleges, taking a swipe at MCA for establishing Tunku Abdul Rahman College.

He said MCA had done so because it could not secure placement for Chinese students in universities.
"MCA! Shame. On. You!" thundered Lim with staccato pauses, drawing a the biggest response of the day from the crowd.

3.25pm: The second session kicks off with panellists posing questions to the speakers. The speakers will have three minutes to reply.

Panellist Wan Hamidi to Chua: Is MCA so scared of Umno that they don't dare to question allegations of corruptions? Is there a concept of equal partnership in BN?

3.26pm: Chua skirts the question about equal partnership in BN by accusing Pakatan Rakyat of failing to show the same, that PAS has yet to endorse Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister designate.

“You can't even come to consensus on a coalition logo,” says Chua, adding that Pakatan can’t even come up with a shadow cabinet.

“Chief Minister said MCA should be ashamed to start TAR College, is he saying all those who donated should be ashamed?”

Yeo was forced to call for order as DAP supporters boo Chua.

This is followed by a question from Chor to Lim: How are you going to implement RM4,000 minimum income per household policy, given that the total figure of household income? Will you use public donations to fund this programme?

3.28pm: James Chin asks both how they will approach the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Lim replies, “If we can’t wipe out corruption, the poor will remain the poor, while the rich will get richer.

“The Malays can excel. BN’s policy is what causes the Malays to remain behind.

“It is discrimination, when Umno tells the Malays they cannot progress without Umno.

“(I say) We can all progress together,” says Lim.

Chua, in his turn answering the question.  “Along the way, the NEP has been hijacked. That, I agree,” he says, without elaborating who it is who is responsible for the hijack.

3.30pm: Panellist Chor asks Lim what has been done about claims that Anwar siphoned RM3 billion, and what is Pakatan doing on the RM26 billion lost to corruption?"

Lim says, "this is first time we have I heard a minister say that corruption has caused billions of ringgit in losses.

"On the RM3 billion, the MACC is under BN! What are they doing about it? Go and interrogate Anwar"
3.38pm: The next session involves drawing written questions from the public that is placed in a transparent box. Lim is the first to draw a piece of paper. The question is then read by Yeo and posed to Chua.

3.45pm: A question from the floor is being read out to Lim by Yeo: What is your education policy to generate a competent Malaysia?

Lim replies, “We are for equal opportunities. That's why these people are afraid. They descend smear campaigns, spreading lies about Pakatan leaders.
"We want to improve standards to university that's why we suggest English is made compulsory pass in SPM, does BN dare to realise this?”

3.45pm: Chua takes his turn answering, turning the tables on the 2 million brain drain as “normal” as it proves Malaysia’s education prepares its citizens to be accepted worldwide.

As an example, he says MCA has trained 200,000 Chinese through TAR College.
3.51pm: Question from the audience: When the law minister (Nazri Abdul Aziz) called you (MCA) a “battered wife”, why did you keep quiet? If you can’t defend yourself, how will you defend the people?

Chua replies, “Was that from statement the PM? When a DAP leader called Perak MB a ‘black metallic metal’ what did you do? We think we should rubbish them by not honouring a reply.
"You don't have to dignify it with an answer. He may be the minister of law but not PM”.

3.56pm: It is Chua’s turn to draw a question for Lim. Incidently, the question is about the former’s performance as the Penang Port chairperson.

Lim replies, “ I'm disappointed with my opponent on this. He sold out to Syed Mokhtar. Penang port is in Penang why wasn't the decision made by people of Penang? If they can sell the port then they can sell the interest of people of Penang.

“I call on CSL to implement the RM350 miliion dredging works... If don't know how, give it to us. We will show you how it is done.

“Until now my opponent can't explain to why they intend to reduce Penang’s port to a feeder port.

“Come to Penang CM office on Monday and explain to stakeholders on the privatisation plan. This is not privatisation, but piratisation?”

4.00pm:  It is now the final session of the debate. Chua is the first to provide closing remarks. 
Lim is seen smiling throughout the debate, while Chua seems serious and tense.

In the winding up, Chua trumpets Felda’s success as the second largest IPO in the world as a success story of the BN government.

“Our share price (Felda’s) continues to leap up in the world share markets,” he proclaims, to cynical laughter from the DAP supporters.

He then launches a prolonged attack on DAP’s campaign slogan ‘Ubah’.

“What is Ubah? Ubah means change from a government that works based on a consensus (BN) to a DAP, PKR dan PAS who can’t even agree on a common logo when they want to register?” he says, repeating his earlier material.

“Their slogan shouldn’t be Ubah, but ‘Rampasan kuasa didahulukan,
pentadbiran huru-hara diutamakan
’ (Grabbing power first, Chaotic government foremost’.”

“Changing the government also means changing for fun, but they never do anything,” he says.

Chua then throws up some figures, saying from 2008 ke tahun 2010 Penang’s GDP shrank as much as 1.8 percent while the national GDP rose by 5.5 percent. “You can quote me on this,” he boasts.

Chua pointed out that former DAP vice-chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim exit from the party, saying "your liberally used the gag orders on those who opposed you. It must always be my way other wise they have to exit at the no return sign on the highway".

He accused DAP of "demonising" every government institution to suit their political agenda.

"Ubah shows lack of consensus, more confrontation and violence clearly camouflaged under the banner of a NGO (Bersih). You pit the Chinese against the Chinese. And Chinese against the non-Chinese. But you call yourself a multiracial party."

"Embrace Najib's transformation!" exclaimed Chua, who was greeted with applause from his corner.
4.20 pm: Lim continuing his closing remarks says, “Chua asks who is fit to be a leader? And he has made several personal attacks.

“If he wants to ‘syiok sendiri’ (gratify himself) let him. The BN government ruled Penang all this while (prior to 2008), why wasn't it then highest in investment?” he says, responding to Chua’s earlier comments on Penang’s economic performance.

“Penang was voted the most liveable city in Malaysia last year. Not by fluke, but by fact that Penang is most liveable city in Malaysia this year too. Georgetown Festival has lifted Penang to be the hippest town in Malaysia.

“Whether one is fit to be a leader, let's ask the prime minister. Ask him to debate with Anwar!

“My opponent said the Penang government didn't build low cost housing - he said state government didn't do it, but so didn't the federal government!” says Lim, to boos from the audience.

“We built 3,000 units of low cost housing through Penang Development Corporation (PDC). We know it’s not enough, because we have to rationalise the funds and through that we have built 18,000 affordable houses.”

Meanwhile responding to Chua’s earlier repeat of the so-called RM1 billion Talam ‘scandal’, Lim says, “As for Talam - we tell you it's double counting, but you still insist that it is RM1 billion.”

“We have reduced the Penang government’s debt. For everything there's a way to do it.

On the issue of hillslope development in the state that BN has been harping on, Lim replies, “Hills - first they say dying hills, then they say crying hills. We will disclose the state papers (to show the truth).

“Chua said we have no new projects. That’s because we had to deal with the rubbish the previous government left us.

“Call your subordinate (The Star group chief editor) Wong Chun Wai who said that we raped the hills (of Penang). We will declassify the minutes (of state exco meetings); let's have a dialogue.”

Ending his wrap up, Lim says, “We know if they wipe out corruption, BN will die. But if we don't wipe out corruption, Malaysia will die.”

4.30pm: After two hours, the debate wraps up with MCA supporters chanting "Xiao Hong" (Little Red One), the alleged nickname of a woman accused of having an affair with Lim.

The DAP supporters reply by chanting "CD", in reference to Chua's sex videotape scandal. 

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