The Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should be a gentleman and should not “hit below the belt” but engage Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed in a public debate instead of deviously attacking him in his 2017 budget speech in Parliament where the former Prime Minister could not reply as Mahathir is no more a Member of Parliament.
In his most unorthodox, unconventional and very Trumpish 2017 Budget speech in Parliament yesterday, Najib explicitly attacked the former Prime Minister by zeroing on him in at least half a dozen times, alleging that Mahathir had made baseless and unfounded allegations against him.
I do not propose defend Mahathir as Mahathir is fully capable of defending himself. In fact, the best person to defend Mahathir is Mahathir himself.
But I would like to see a level playing field where Mahathir could defend himself from Najib’s charges, instead of Najib “hitting below the belt” by launching attacks on Mahathir in Parliament in his 2017 budget speech where Mahathir could not defend himself as Mahathir is no more a Member of Parliament.
Najib said in his 2017 Budget speech that Barisan Nasional is a “brave and bold government, and we never run away from issues”.
He said: “We never betray, never fear failure and never run away from battlefield. To us, Barisan Nasional, failure is not an option, and success is what we strive for.”
Let Najib prove his words by deed. If he wants to attack Mahathir for any unsubstantiated or baseless statements against him, let him do it openly and fairly by engaging the former Prime Minister in a public debate where there is a level playng field for both of them – where Mahathir could respond to Najib’s attacks and where Najib could also answer Mahathir’s attacks.
I have not spoken to Mahathir on such a public debate, but if Najib dares to accept such an encounter through a public debate with Mahathir, I am prepared to chair the debate between Najib and Mahathir.
I do not think Mahathir would be afraid of such a public debate encounter with Najib. The only question is whether Najib is brave enough for such an encounter!
(Speech at the 50th DAP Anniversary Dinner of Segamat DAP in Segamat on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 8 pm)