By Mohd Farhan Darwis
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dismissed today the suggested debate between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and political foe Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, saying debates are not the solution to every problem.
The former prime minister (picture) said it is good leadership and not the act of engaging in a debate that is important when seeking a resolution to any problem.
“Debates do not solve problems,” said the man who administered the country from October 2003 to April 2009.
“There are lots of things to be done besides debates because debating is not essential,” he said.
Abdullah, who is still Umno MP for Kepala Batas, did not elaborate whether the debate between Najib and Anwar was necessary.
“It depends on Najib whether he wants to participate or not; it’s up to him,” he said, adding that it was the prime minister’s prerogative to decide whether he wants to debate with the Opposition Leader or not.
Calls for Najib to hold a debate with Anwar over policy matters arose following last Saturday’s debate between political rivals MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng last week.
Anwar has repeatedly challenged the sixth prime minister to discuss policies as well as the government’s direction in an open debate.
Other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have welcomed the challenge.
But Najib, who is also Umno president, has yet to comment on the latest debate dare. He had previously questioned the point of holding the debate.
“If we want to debate, there must be an outcome from the debate.
“I do not see one and what is important is public opinion,” he told reporters after attending a luncheon with the national football team at Seri Perdana here on January 12 last year.
Last week, Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor hinted that the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Malay party leaders were prepared to take on the opposition bloc.
Other Umno leaders were not as keen, saying the citizens would not benefit from it.