Saturday, February 18, 2012

This is not the political debate we want

The political debate between Dr Chua Soi Lek and Lim Guan Eng on 18-2-2012 was organized by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) and MCA’s Institute of Strategic Analysis and Policy Research (INSAP). This was only the second political debate in the country between senior Barisan National(BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders since opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s debate with then-information minister Datuk Seri Shabeery Cheek — was broadcast live on Astro.

The topic - “Chinese at the Crossroads: Is the Two-Party System Becoming a Two-Race System?”

But the debate anticipated highly by Malaysian turned up to be a political talk and not really political debate we anticipated at. Dr Chua was more vocal on attacking DAP as a party and Lim was merely repeating what he has been talking in the political dinners. We anticipate for high class political debate as it was organized by ASLI, and focused more on policy on two party system Vs Two race system like what happen in Sarawak in recent state election. Both speakers should have talk about their party's stance on the issue, and why the party support or against the two party system. What will be the outcome, and how the party is going to face it if the two party system become a reality in Malaysia. Why the two party can or cannot become two race system. What is the impact to the Malaysian if the two party system become two race system, and how the party is going to tackle it if it happen.

The standard of the debate was very low , not even comparable to the school debate. I happen to have a young relative who is in school debating team, he and his team mates gave low grade to the political debate. No standard at all... may be they should learn from the school debating team. It failed the expectation that Malaysian anticipated....

The moment the first speaker, Dr Chua started, it geared up to attack aggressively on DAP, the political debate was expected to go as normal political election campaign.

They did touch little about the two party system but only superficial without an analytical on the impact to Malaysia if two party system or two race system arise after the election. But Dr Chua was more on attacking DAP, and even on a former MCA President. Lim Guan Eng was only defending his policy in Penang. By the way, this is debating on national issue and not local or merely party issue, it is debating on your party stance on the topic given. It seems to be out of topic. We expected higher standard debate.

It was more like party propaganda, a pre-election political campaign.

Did the public debate help the audience to understand the view of the political parties?...

The standard of audience who asked the questions was low, asking irrelevant questions, and the supporters was not a matured enough to be in a political debate, giving praise to good debating points, and silence when necessary to listen to the speech. The emotional out pour of the supporters, mainly from MCA during the questioning time is unwanted. It was not a political fight but a political debate, where we should be like the two speakers, be a good listeners. No point to be emotional as this is not election day, the quality of audience was poor.

The organizer should has as for questions to be written, and screen through the questions to ensure the questions are relevant, otherwise it is wasting the time of majority of the audience.

The political parties concerned should disciplined their party members before the start of the debate, things to do and not to do. The organizer need to look at the rules to the political parties. Since this is political debate, we cannot avoid the attendance of their members. But they should have foretold this is not election campaign, it is only a debate, a discipline audience will help to crate a positive atmosphere to the debate. What happen if the emotion turn wild , then the democratic debate will turn ugly, and their supporters will become crazy and wild. Democracy become demon go crazy.....

Most of the audience who ask questions were from MCA, which is heavily biased, the organizer should be experienced to select the audience, representing both political parties, and neutral party. At this point I should say that Lim Guan Eng maintain his coolness, this is a plus point for him. Some of them seems to take the opportunity to impress their boss, hoping for a chance in next election?...

We have to congratulate Dr Chua Soi Lek and Mr Lim Guan Eng for participating in the debate, using the language they are not very good at. They are both English educated, but use Chinese as debating language. This we need to give credit to them. They will be remember for being man who dare to take up the challenge to provide a good start for the sake of democracy in the country. In a way, they both are winners.

Both speakers may have won in their way, but the political debate was a flop, not worth to listen on its content.....but as Lim GE had say it is a start, and hope the political debate will continue and become a norm in future.

Even the standard was considered low, I would say it was not bad for a start....

We expected the 2nd debate will be more policy and issue centered.

We also anticipated for more quality political debate, we know Malaysian will love it....

Remember debating is not public speaking, some political party may has well trained youth group with public speaking skills under training like Toastmaster; preparing for the coming election. But a good public speaker may not be necessary a good debater....or as good audience who know how to question.....a good debater do not need to be aggressive, yet your argument and reasoning win the heart of the audience... it is ability to present your view on the topic is not merely super public skills without substance...

We hope we will soon have a good political debating culture...

Further readings

1. Cheap shot’ shows Soi Lek not secure, says Tee Keat,
2. BN ready for political debates, says Ku Nan,
3. Dr M: Malaysians not mature enough for debates,

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