By MERGAWATI ZULFAKAR, The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: A “fuel duel” has been set up.
Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek and PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will face off over the recent fuel price increase.
And it may be shown live on television.
Debate organiser Agenda Daily has received confirmation from both men that they will participate in the debate at 9pm at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka on July 15. The topic is “Hari Ini Membentuk Kerajaan, Esok Turun Harga Minyak.” (Form a Government today and reduce the price of oil tomorrow).
Ahmad Shabery said that he agreed to the debate as he felt that it was his responsibility to explain government policies to the people.
“This is an opportunity to inform the people of the many misleading and irresponsible statements being made against government decisions. I am ready for the debate,” he said.
Asked if RTM would telecast the debate, Ahmad Shabery said he would not abuse his power to direct the station to do so.
“However, I do not mind if other channels want to take up the offer,” he said.
Agenda Daily editor Hanafiah Man said negotiations were going on with a number of TV stations to air the debate live.
“We have received confirmation from the minister two days ago while Anwar’s side has given a positive verbal reply.
“This is an opportunity for each side to explain and defend their arguments – one side to justify the Government’s decision to raise fuel prices and the other claiming the prices will go down if the Opposition gets into power,” Hanafiah said yesterday.
Anwar had recently said that if the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition took over the government, it would reduce fuel prices the very next day, adding that PR would announce the mechanism at the appropriate time and that he would resign if he failed to do so.
Using the US presidential elections debate format, Hanafiah said that a moderator would be appointed soon while Ahmad Shabery and Anwar would each select a journalist to join in the panel to ask questions.
“Only 200 people will be invited while our two debaters will be allowed to bring along 50 guests each,” he added.