PETALING JAYA, March 8 ― Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has urged acting Umno president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan to participate in a debate session for the Rantau by-election.
Chairman Thomas Fann said it was a good platform for Mohamad, commonly called Tok Mat, to take up the challenge because it allowed candidates to state their views, position and their commitment to the constituency.
“It is not a place where a winner is decided or candidates are put through an awkward unless they wish to.
“It is a platform for them to speak up,” he said during a press conference at the NGO's headquarters here.
Fann pointed out the importance of a debate, stating an elected representative must possess debating skills as they were responsible in debating their points in an legislative assembly.
In the recently concluded Semenyih by-election, both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional candidates snubbed Bersih 2.0's televised debate invitation, citing time constraints due to a hectic campaigning schedule.
The debate was subsequently replaced by a forum organised by Malay daily Sinar Harian between independent candidate Kuan Chee Heng and Parti Sosialis Malaysia Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul.
The Election Commission (EC) has fixed April 13 as voting day for the Rantau by-election.
Early voting will be on April 9 and nomination day will be on March 30.
Fann said Bersih 2.0 would continue to invite political parties to participate in debates in all upcoming by-elections.
Fann also said he hoped to see less election offences and for the contesting parties to obey existing election laws.
“For Rantau it is possible this misconduct may get worse simply because so far no action has been taken any against offenders and those that we call out were being unapologetic,” he said.