KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — MCA’s Datuk Chua Tee Yong refused tonight a debate over Selangor’s debt recovery exercise from Talam Corporation with four representatives of the state government, leading to accusations from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians that he feared the truth.
The four had been appointed official spokesmen on the Talam controversy by Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and had turned up tonight at a function organised by MCA for Chua to debate the mentri besar.
“We want a platform for two sides to speak in a mature way and let people decide who is right or wrong,” DAP’s Tony Pua, one of the four official representatives of Selangor for the Talam issue, told reporters.
“Datuk Chua Tee Yong does not want to debate with any of the representatives appointed by Selangor,” he said.
The other three state-appointed representatives — PAS’ Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, PKR’s William Leong, Selangor Mentri Besar’s political secretary Faekah Husin — were also present at the debate organised by MCA.
The four had arrived to cheers and claps from half of the audience present at the venue.
They decided to leave the International Youth Centre hall in Cheras after MCA insisted on a debate between Chua and Khalid.
They left the hall to loud jeers from MCA supporters in the audience.
A brief commotion broke out outside the hall with shouts and pushes from supporters of both MCA and PR.
“What right does he (Chua) have to ask mentri besar to debate with him?” Pua asked, saying that Chua is in “no position” to make such a demand.
“Any of us is prepared to debate with Datuk Chua Tee Yong even after this,” Pua added.
“In actual fact, he is just running away from the truth...he’s scared to debate with us,” he said.
Pua, Dzulkefly and Leong had previously challenged Chua to attend a forum on the Talam issue in Labis, Johor this Sunday.
Last week, Khalid said that top audit firm KPMG had cleared the Selangor government of any irregularities in its RM392 million debt recovery exercise involving the company formerly known as Talam Corporation and declared it a “sound commercial decision”.
Pua had also previously said that “every sen has been collected back from Talam”, referring to the RM392 million debt that was owed to Selangor state subsidiaries.
MCA had alleged that the state government’s dealings with Talam — now known as Trinity Corporation — was lopsided and had ended up costing taxpayers up to RM1 billion.