The public debate between former prime minister Najib Razak and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has finally been fixed for 12 May at 9 pm and it will be aired live for the public.
Other than the financially troubled oil and gas company Sapura Energy Bhd, the debate will also cover topics concerning the rakyat, including issues of the economy and politics.
This has been confirmed by the event’s coordinators, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil and Barisan Nasional information chief Isham Jalil, in a joint statement on 17 April.
According to the duo, a physical audience at the programme will be limited, but the public will be able to watch through selected media channels which will be announced soon.
They also said the debate will consist of 3 main segments, the first focusing on the issues faced by Sapura Energy and whether it needs to be saved by the government.
The second segment will focus on “The Future of Malaysia”, covering aspects of the economy, politics, governance and the country’s direction, while the third segment will be for questions and answers.
“We believe this event will provide the opportunity to Malaysians to judge and celebrate the differing ideas, arguments and opinions, in a peaceful atmosphere which reflects a more matured political culture,” they said.
It is also revealed that the debate between the two top party leaders will take place at the Dewan Tunku Canselor at Universiti Malaya.
The debate idea was first brought up by PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli who had challenged Najib to a discourse over the embattled, public-listed company Sapura Energy, which has large financial backing from state-owned Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNB).
Sapura Energy’s financial distress recently came under the spotlight after the firm’s requirement for further financial aid raised questions on whether PNB, which is also in charge of funds like Amanah Saham Bumiputera, would have to pump in further funds.
In response, Najib said he is willing to accept the debate challenge by Rafizi on the condition that Anwar should also be part of it, which the latter agreed to.