The initiative by web portal Agenda Daily to organise a debate between PKR defacto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek on the recent fuel price hike issue is to be applauded. We also welcome TV3's commitment to telecast the debate live on July 15, at 8.30pm from the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka auditorium.
Since Ahmad Shaberry assumed the information portfolio, he has stated on several occasions he would engage with various groups in public discourse on national issues, and indeed, RTM has since then launched a special "Blog" programme for several Sundays now, featuring thus far interviews with leading bloggers such as Raja Petra Kamarudin, Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru, Tony Yew and Capt. Yusof Ahmad aka Ancient Mariner.
We believe such efforts to expand democratic discourse through the various media -- both print and electronic, old and new media -- is to be welcomed by all Malaysians consistent with a national agenda towards realising Vision 2020, which encompasses promoting and creating a civil society befitting the status of a first world nation.
We look forward to this debate, and the acceptance and willingness by the two debaters, Anwar and Ahmad Shaberry, to engage on behalf of the Government and the Opposition respectively, marks a stride forward for Malaysian democratic practice. It is the hope of many Malaysians such initiatives will be continued and expanded by both the ruling Government and the opposition parties, later to include civil society groups and prominent individuals perhaps, as they are all stakeholders in nation-building, with a common goal of achieving a better Malaysia for all. -- YL Chong, Editor, CPI
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