Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will review the reasons behind the police’s move to cancel the debate between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Nazri Abdul Aziz before deciding on whether the event should be given the green light or otherwise.
“I have to study (the reasons) first, then if we feel the debate should carry on, we will ask the police to give permit,” he told reporters in Putrajaya this morning.
Zahid, who is also home minister, said he would need to consult with the police as the latter might not have revealed the real reason for cancelling the debate.
“I have to respect their decision and recommendation,” he added.
Earlier, Zahid said the police did not refer to him or Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak with regard to cancelling the debates, both in Perak and Selangor.
“The decisions were purely that of the Selangor police chief and Perak acting police chief,” he added.
The debate between Mahathir and Nazri was initially slated to be held at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) in Kuala Kangsar on March 25.
However, Perak police rejected the notice for the debate after taking into account “safety, public order, protection of rights and public freedom”.
The debate’s organiser, Sinar Harian, was then supposed to hold the debate in Shah Alam on April 27, but this was also cancelled by the police.
Yesterday, Nazri, who was peeved with the decision, suggested that the debate be held at the police auditorium in Cheras.
On a sarcastic note, he said the debate could be held abroad such as in London, Greenwich or Antartica, where the penguins do not understand Bahasa Malaysia or English, and therefore there would be no security risk.
The tourism and culture minister, however, dismissed speculation that Najib had a hand in the cancellation since the debate was supposed to touch on the 1MDB issue and the RM2.6 billion in the prime minister’s accounts.
On the contrary, Nazri claimed that Najib had thanked him for being willing to take on Mahathir.