Tan Keng Liang accepts Penang debate challenge

The stage is set for a debate in Penang between DAP and Gerakan over who is responsible for price hikes, but the latter wants to battle with someone from the ranks of state executive councillors (exco members) and not local councillors.

“I am open to a debate. Just let me know the date and time and I will make the necessary arrangements. I am prepared to come to Penang to debate,” said Gerakan National Youth chief Tan Keng Liang.

“However, I want to debate with a DAP leader who sits in the state exco because local councillors are in the dark about what is happening in the state and what decisions the state exco memberss make in their meetings which affect the people,” he told Malaysiakini.

“If Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng dare not debate with me, then get someone accountable. It is not that the local councillors are not qualified but they are mostly in the dark about decisions made,” he added.

 Tan, a lawyer by profession, said he has many issues to raise about the living conditions of Penangites so a debate is timely.

Tan was responding in a press conference this morning to an open challenge by three Penang councillors - Chris Lee, Satees Muniandy and Mohd Hariszuan Jaharuddin.

 The trio cited Tan’s tweets and Facebook postings on the recent New Year’s eve Turun rally over price hikes, where he remarked that mostly Malays attended the rally as they were “used” by certain quarters.

 Last week the trio also threw  state MCA Youth chief Lee Beng Seng a challenge to debate over his statement urging Guan Eng to “acknowledge” several price hike measures implemented by the Pakatan Rakyat administration, saying the latter should not stir up “populist sentiments”.

Preference to debate with CM

 But Lee retorted in the media, “Who is Chris Lee?” when told about the challenge to debate, saying he would prefer to spar words with a “decision-maker like the CM”.

Chris said if Lee cannot even handle councillors, he would definitely not be able to debate with Guan Eng.

 Chris is also state DAP Socialist Youth deputy chief while Satees is the wing’s state assistant secretary.

“We are not afraid to debate with him. MCA Youth should accept the challenge and not give excuses. The price hike affects everyone, not just those in Penang or Pakatan states,” he said.

To prove his point, Chris called Sarawak DAP Youth vice-chairperson Leon Donald, on his mobile phone and the latter said via speaker phone that people in the state are suffering due to price hikes, citing the case of increase in electricity costs.

“We are more than ready to debate with any BN rep to determine who is the cause of price hike in the country,” said Leon, who is an Iban from Sri Aman.

 Satees said the MCA is obviously defending BN and so does Gerakan but that is understandable, while some in Umno have criticised the price hikes.

“However,  in this issue everyone should come together despite political affiliation and differences in ethnic and religious status,” he added.

 Hariszuan said it is the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry who should monitor and control prices of goods, especially essential goods.

“If the ministry cannot do this, better dissolve. It is silly to blame the state for price hikes over which we do not have control,” he added.





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