Debate cancelled but Nik Aziz and Kuan will still go live

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File photograph: Malay Mail Online

Bersih 2.0 is pleased to announce that after discussions with the Astro team, we agreed that they should do a live telecast on Wacana Sinar’s Semenyih Pasca PRK where Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul of the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and Kuan Chee Heng, the independent candidate, will be on the panel.

This forum will be held at Dewan Karangkraf, Seksyen 15, Shah Alam on 27 February 2019 from 3pm to 5pm. You can watch it live on Astro Awani channel 501.

Bersih 2.0 commends the progressive team behind Astro who share our desire to see public debates as a new norm in politics and media organisations like Sinar Harian that provide platforms for public interest discourses. The key role media organisations play as the fourth estate to strengthen democracy in this country is critical, and we fully support such efforts.

Bersih 2.0 has been criticised by some quarters for cancelling the debate among the candidates of the Semenyih by-election after both the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates declined our invitation to debate. Some criticised us for marginalising the smaller parties and independents by being dictated to by the main parties. We would like to clarify further the decision we made to cancel the debate.

The proposed debate would have been telecast live on national TV by Astro and live-fed to TV1, as it was during the Cameron Highlands by-election. An understanding we had with these broadcasters was that we would secure the participation of all or most of the candidates before they would consider a live telecast. We fully understand their need to justify the cost incurred to set up a mobile unit to do a live telecast from a remote location in Semenyih.

Bersih 2.0 initiated this debate among the election candidates with the inaugural debate in Cameron Highlands to promote a healthy exchange of ideas among candidates and to level the playing field for all contestants. We are still very much committed to these objectives and will endeavour to pursue them despite the many challenges we face.

With the live telecast by Astro of the forum, where Nik Aziz and Kuan will be on the panel with two other panelists, they will have the opportunity to speak to tens of thousand on why they should be elected as the state assembly member for Semenyih, something that both the PH and BN candidates will miss out on.

Bersih 2.0 will organise a telecast of a debate among candidates in the upcoming Rantau by-election. We hope all candidates – especially the ones from PH and BN – will have the gut sto talk about their vision and mission before the camera for a national audience.

Bersih 2.0 steering committee

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Debates by American Politicians produces millions of dollars in contribution to TV / adverts / public SUPPORT GROUPS & NGO benefits. In Malaysia its a typical roadside Kedai Kopi talk with conman promises and bad loose motions.