Beg to differ: Debating is not part of Malaysian culture, according to Ismail Sabri, who rejected national debate among PM candidates for GE15 

Photo: Malaysia’s caretaker PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob/Facebook
Photo: Malaysia’s caretaker PM Ismail Sabri Yaakob/Facebook

In the latest episode of Malaysian politicians making the darndest but not surprising statements, caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has rejected the notion of holding a national debate among the contenders for prime minister because apparently “it is not part of Malaysian culture”.

“Debate is not our culture. Our culture is corruption.” / Meme by @_Fattah_Amin on Twitter.

Such a discussion, according to the acting prime minister, is pointless and just gives the candidates a stage on which to make electoral pledges.

“Debating is not part of our culture, it does not bring any results. 

“If given the opportunity to debate, they will only make promises, the moon and the stars – so there is no need to have a national debate,” he told reporters after a briefing on the general election (GE15) and monsoon season at Bukit Aman police headquarters here today.

“I don’t think there is a need for a debate. We are busy in our constituencies carrying out election campaigns.” 

We beg to differ. If Malaysians can argue over whether it’s “tose” or “tosai”, then PM candidates should go on live television and debate on issues affecting the lives of millions. 

He continued by saying that the people’s confidence in the administration formed its foundation.

Earlier, Pakatan Harapan (PH) prime minister candidate Anwar Ibrahim suggested that candidates from PH, Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional (BN) should have a public debate ahead of GE15.

The other two candidates are Ismail Sabri (BN) and Muhyiddin Yassin (PN).

Anwar said the discussion should be on public policy rather than personal attacks.

The Election Commission (EC) announced last week that Malaysia’s 15th general election will be held on Nov. 19. 


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