There is much anticipation surrounding the debate between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and minister Nazri Abdul Aziz, which is slated to take place this Saturday in Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
However, veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin has advised against high expectations.
The former New Straits Times editor-in-chief claimed that Nazri would not be representing the government or Umno, but rather himself and his “inflated ego”, at the debate.
“In that capacity, Nazri can defend (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) if he wants to because Mahathir is bound to raise numerous issues related to Najib’s leadership.
“Or Nazri who is a ‘loose cannon’ could in turn bring problems for Najib,” he said in a blog posting.
‘Don’t expect much’
According to Kadir, it is impossible that Nazri, who is also Padang Rengas MP, would fight tooth and nail to defend Najib, because he knows the latter is a “burden to Umno and the government”.
“He has to think of public perception. Or else, Najib might remain in Pekan (the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency) while Nazri falls in Padang Rengas (in the next election),” he said.
The veteran newsman claimed that Nazri, who is also tourism and culture minister, is secretly hoping that the debate would be scrapped.
“But if it continues, he (Nazri) would defend his ego.
“So we cannot hope for too much from the debate because Nazri would be unable to answer what is raised by Mahathir…,” he said.
Kadir said Nazri does not have the locus standi, unlike Najib, to debate with Mahathir on issues such as 1MDB.
“Najib however is afraid to face Mahathir,” he added.
Apart from 1MDB, the debate is also expected to focus on the RM2.6 billion in Najib’s accounts and the BMF scandal which occurred during Mahathir’s tenure as prime minister.