KUALA LUMPUR – The DAP’s Zaid Ibrahim does not think the debate between former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno minister Nazri Aziz will take place.
“I dont think it will happen. On his return, Nazri will be told (by the government) there is nothing about 1MDB that has to be debated.
“All kosher, as explained by both the prime minister and the attorney-general,” he told FMT.
Mahathir, now chairman of new opposition outfit Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, had yesterday challenged Nazri to a public debate.
He had suggested the debate centre around state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the Bumiputera Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, and the deposit of RM2.6 billion into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank account.
Nazri told FMT last night he would be ready for the debate as soon as he returned to Malaysia from a working visit to Berlin. He is scheduled to return on Monday.
“Okay, I agree,” the Tourism and Culture Minister said. “l’ll be back on the 13th, so ask him to make the preparations. Or, if he agrees, I can do the arrangement.”
Zaid said should the debate go through as planned, there were several conditions that had to be met.
These include a live telecast with live audience and two moderators who are acceptable to both Mahathir and Nazri. In addition, the debate must be in a format usually used in political debates in other countries, he said.
“Also, there has to be Cabinet approval for Nazri to represent the views of the government. Otherwise he will say these are his personal views.”
Talk about the BMF scandal was recently revived when declassified US Central Intelligence Agency documents linked the Mahathir administration to about US$1 billion in losses in the 1980s.
As for the RM2.6 billion funnelled into Najib’s accounts, Attorney-General Apandi Ali cleared Najib of any wrongdoing.
Apandi had said he was satisfied with Najib’s explanation that the money was a personal donation from the Saudi royal family.