MAFREL observers met PKR’s election director Saifuddin Nasution at Yayasan Aman at about 2.00pm and was told that he has decided against allowing PKR candidate Mansur Osman to participate in the candidates’ debate slotted for this Thursday on the ground that their programs are packed. He did not give any acknowledgment to the value of public debates as a more credible, interactive platform to face the voters compared to other 1-way communications campaigning activities. Even more controversially he claimed that he had not been told of the debate invitation till yesterday when MAFREL contacted him by phone. This run counter to the fact that Dr Mansur himself was invited to the debate way before the nomination day -and indeed Dr Mansur had requested one of the party staff `Pak Muz’ to communicate this idea to Saifuddin. Incredibly Saifuddin claimed he never read newspaper -so he does not know that the debate had been reported in the media!
When asked if he is following the BN’s style in running away from debate challenges Saifuddin replied that the independent candidates had not challenged them to any debate so far!
So if nothing is done to reverse this decision of PKR only the voters can send a message to them about the lack of public debates in the election contest which PKR seemingly want to win through the sheer strength of their `machineries’. Such performance by the Pakatan party ie running away from public debates, can only undermine PKR/Pakatan’s moral high ground in condemning undemocratic practices elsewhere eg in Perak.
MAFREL appeal to other more rational heads in PKR and Pakatan to reverse the decision . We know the candidate himself has no problem to participate in such a debate.
Earlier MAFREL had invited all the 3 independent candidates to join the debate. Candidates Aminah and Kamarul have agreed but the ex-Gerakan candidate has turned down the invitation in typical BN style.