Despite being at disadvantages in the Penanti by-election race 2 independent candidates turned up to face the `bullets’ from the audience last night in a rare candidates debate held at MAFREL’s Operation Centre. Nai Khan Ari and Kamarul Ramizu Bin Idris opened themselves to piercing questioning that the other higher profile candidates stayed away in fear!
Originally Aminah Abdullah also offered to attend -from even before the nomination day. But she must have got cold feeted to face the voters and the press after spinning her stories from a CD and got some hostile questionings! By making the decision she joined her rival in PKR in the rank of those who dare not face their voters!
For PKR’s case there was a report that said that debate is not a priority for them and that if they were to debate they will only debate with their arch rival BN. The reasonings are mystifying: is there a priority to engage in 1-way communications over multi-level communications by PKR in their campaign?
Secondly if PKR will only debate with their `superior’ rival then they can’t hope that BN will ever debate with them-since BN practice the same policy-of not respecting their rivals as worthy opponents! There seems to be a need for `reformasi’ in how PKR look at their political rivals which differ from the BN’s arrogance and contempt!
While the 2 candiates were grilled on many issues(connection with BN, assets declaration, local elections, ISA etc) their presence was appreciated and respected by most of those who came. They may not win on all the points they raised but they at least won the connection with the audience! The presence of numerous media representatives also ensure they get good coverage-which they deserve!