KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Arul Kanda Kandasamy became the top trending topic on Twitter in the country today as Malaysians took to the social media site to discuss the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) president’s acceptance of DAP MP Tony Pua’s challenge to spar on live television.
Apart from retweeting the many news reports on the latest in the two men’s verbal jousting in the media, Twitter users also took the opportunity to offer advice to the duo as well as their views and predictions of the outcome of such a debate.
MCA’s Eric Choo said Pua, who was the one who first issued the challenge, should use the opportunity to expose the truth behind the 1MDB controversy.
“Tony Pua should just do this to expose the truth to the people, let’s do it for the people! #KuasaRakyat,” Choo wrote using the handle @choows.
For user @Haziq_Escobar, the debate, which is to discuss the state-owned investment firm’s activities, should not merely be between Arul Kanda and Pua, who is DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP.
“HARAP debat antara Presiden 1MDB,Arul Kanda dengan Tony Pua turut disertai Mahathir,Muhyiddin dan Shafie Apdal hiks,” he wrote in Bahasa Malaysia.
[Translation: I hope the debate between 1MDB president Arul Kanda and Tony Pua is joined by Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Shafie Apdal]
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal are all known critics of the 1MDB controversy.
Jason Ng, formerly the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) KL correspondent, joined in on the conversation by posting a GIF image of a man flogging a dead horse, referring to the idiom that means to waste effort doing something that is not likely to succeed.
Pua earlier today tweeted a response to a report on Arul Kanda’s statement accepting his debate challenge.
“LOL!,” he wrote, using the popular Internet abbreviation for the term “laugh out loud”.
Arul Kanda had in his statement said he would accept Pua’s challenge to debate on TV but only if the lawmaker quit his post in Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The 1MDB president said it would be a conflict of interest for Pua to discuss with him on television the allegations against 1MDB as the parliamentary committee is currently investigating the state investment firm.
In his reply during a press conference in Parliament this afternoon, Pua told Arul Kanda to stop setting “stupid conditions” and just accept the challenge.
On Twitter, user @hazimishahri was quick to respond.
The user posted a cartoon on the issue that featured Pua’s face superimposed on the body of a chicken and saying, “No, no, no!” to Arul Kanda’s request that he quit from the PAC.
It is not immediately known if Arul Kanda only became the top trending Twitter topic after his statement accepting the challenge from Pua, or how long he stayed in first place.
As at 3pm, however, the 1MDB head slipped to second place behind #ALDUB15thWeeksary, a topic that centers on the popular “Eat Bulaga!” afternoon variety show in the Philippines that has turned into a social media phenomenon.
Yesterday, Arul Kanda reportedly told BernamaTV that there is no cover up of 1MDB’s activities and that it would be impossible to do so as the firm is being probed by five agencies.
He also denied claims that 1MDB had contributed to the ringgit’s decline, arguing that there is no correlation between the two.
The firm is said to have racked up a reported debts of over RM42 billion in the years following its inception in 2009.