And the winner is ....
Tun Salleh Abas said WE are the winner. The people who are interested in the issues and in public discourse. "I think the program should go on," he told me after last night's DEBATE between Shabery, the Information Minister, and Anwar, the former DPM, MoF, and now advisor to PKR.
Shabery did quite well, I thought. He got floored a couple of times but he got back on his feet to carry on. No mean feat. He had the balls to engage Anwar at what Anwar does best. I don't think many BN politicians would relish the idea of standing against Anwar Ibrahim in a debate, especially on the subject of the Government's unpopular decision to increase petrol prices by 41 per cent and diesel by 63 per cent.
From the word go, Anwar attacked that decision as untenable and one that gave rise to inflation. He pooh-poohed forecast that the country's oil reserves are drying up. "Fifteen or twenty years ago, the government forecast that our reserves would dry up in 2005". The keyword, he said, is "... if no new reserves are found".
"And if our MPs don't even understand this ... susahlah (we're in trouble)."
Shabery played the blame game, but not excessively. Anwar was Minister of Finance. He was part of the policy-making BN machine. The Info Minister reminded Anwar that in 1997 he was subscribing to IMF prescriptions, such as pushing up interest rates sky high, which hurt a lot of business people and the layman.
Both speakers conducted themselves very well. They were not emotional and stuck to the topic. Congratulations. And to Agenda Daily for organizing it.
I agree with Tun Salleh, this program should go on. Let's hope Agenda Daily has more in store for US.