Slinging mud is not a debate – The Malaysian Insider
JULY 8 – The debate today between Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng, if one can charitably call it that, is still going on. On Twitter, the MCA president has been repeating the points he made this afternoon.
Followers from both sides are also hard at it, repeating the points with the DAP just putting links to the entire debate for all to see who won. That Dr Chua has to keep harping on the issues on the microblogging site shows who has the uphill battle of doing the convincing today.
As for Lim, he smiled right through the end of the debate.
Not that it was much of debate over “Whose policies benefit the country more?” – the subject matter posed by the organisers.
Even before the event began at 2.30pm, Dr Chua spoke to reporters about the alleged sex scandal engulfing Lim. On his side, the DAP secretary-general told his detractors to repeat their claims without any immunity and face a lawsuit.
That set the tone of the sunny Sunday evening in a packed auditorium. That probably will set the tone for the coming election campaign. Selective use of facts. Personal sniping. All the elements of a schoolyard brawl practised by seasoned politicians who believe political debates are just platforms to undermine each other.
Questions were never really answered and instead, used to attack the opposing side in the two-hour-long event.
It begs the question if a debate can really clarify positions and policies of the respective debaters. Not if they reduced it to low blows more suited to a barroom brawl.
Did they enlighten anyone on their policies that will benefit Malaysia and Malaysians? Or did they even consider the two-hour event was a great opportunity to convince the fence-sitters that their coalition can do a better job if given a chance to sit in Putrajaya?
For the Barisan Nasional (BN) where MCA is a senior component party, they’ve had more than 50 years running the country but it didn’t appear that Dr Chua could articulate all the policies that benefit its citizens. As for Lim, the debate was more a ceramah rather than a battle of ideas.
As debates go, today’s event reinforced divisions among supporters and disillusionment that senior politicians can help change the country’s future for the better. It would be best for younger leaders to take to the rostrum and debate their ideas.
We can’t live in the past glories or speak of race any more, really. The 21st century calls for the next great idea to propel Malaysia forward. Not recriminations and laments of who has a better influence over a demographic. Or who has a bigger sex scandal.
That was the failure of today’s debate. It descended into something personal and mud became the only thing to throw at each other – before, during and after the event. If anything, the debate will just harden people’s resolution to throw out politicians who only know how to undermine each other rather than lift the country higher.