Debates And Accolades

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By June Ramli

Last week, there was an interesting development as far as politics was concerned. Debates were going on in both Australia and surprisingly even in Malaysia among veteran politicians. 
Every time there is a general election in Australia, politicians are sure to be given some air time on television for them to voice out their policies so that the public can decide which candidate is the best one and is deserving of the job.
This is a really good practice that must be kept up at all times. 
In countries like Malaysia, such practices are unheard of until last week but we will come to that in a second. 
Let’s start with Australia first.
I took the liberty to watch the debate between Anthony Albanese and Scott Morrison (ScoMo) held on May 11 which was hosted by veteran Australian journalist Mark Riley last week only because it was broadcasted live on Twitter and I happened to chance upon it so I decided to tune in. 
I must concede that I missed the first two debates (although I knew it was happening) because it wasn’t as easily accessible as the final debate – which was via Twitter.
As I tuned in, there were also 3,000 people watching with me via the platform as well so there was quite a lot of interest in the final debate between the two politicians.
Okay, now let’s get into the crux of the debate. 
In terms of mannerism, Albanese came off as rather calm and collective with his responses but Morrison always seem like he was tensed, always leaning forward from behind the rostrum whenever he wanted to raise a point or debunk something.
I guess Albernese appeared more calm and collective because he had nothing to lose (since he wasn’t in a position of power as yet) while ScoMo seemed like he was under a lot of pressure to stay in power.
What put me off the most about ScoMo was when I first found out how much the canned submarine deal with the French government had cost the Australian taxpayers in kill fees.
A whopping AU$5.5 billion! 
When Albanese mentioned that to his face during a rebuttal of sorts, ScoMo was stumped but he didn’t respond, indicating that they were some truth to the cost of the kill fees.

Check out our exclusive interview with Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

I hate to admit it, but politicians can sometimes be real jerks, do you know how many Centrelink recipients could have benefited from the AU$5.5 billion kill fee that Scomo had given the French for nothing.
Another thing I’ve noticed is a rather lopsided coverage for Albanese in the Australian mainstream media as compared to ScoMo and his posse.
This is evident in the recent hullabaloo involving veteran ABC presenter Fauziah Ibrahim. It shows that most journalists in the mainstream media do favour the Liberals more than anyone else.
But what I am most disappointed with is why the Greens have not been given equal air time as compared to those from the Labor and Liberal political parties.
I read that the Greens will provide free dental to all Medicare cardholders regardless of citizenship once they are voted in.
Crickey! I for one believe that this election promise alone should make them leaders of this country.
It cost an arm and a leg to get anything dental-related done here in Australia and for that reason alone the Greens should really be the leaders of this country.
Next, back to Albernese and the fact that he had lost 15 kgs for the people of Australia. This is a commendable feat that must be taken into account when voting someone into office. The fact that this man went on a gruelling diet just so that he could serve the Australian people better by shedding some pounds is the number one reason why he should be a more preferred candidate in this election rather than ScoMo.
In Korea, they will never make a tubby person responsible for anything because when one is fat it simply means that they are unable to take care of themselves so what makes you think they can look after an organisation or even a country’s administration?
Okay, next let us decipher the debate that took place in Malaysia last week.
Following on to Australia’s footsteps, Malaysia had organised a friendly debate between two Malaysian veteran leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
As a journalist, I’ve covered both these media personalities in the past but seeing them last week on television debating about Sapura got me perplexed on so many levels.
First and foremost, I was surprised that the debate went on as planned and there was no last-minute cancellation. Haha.
I guess, the Malaysian public was also surprised, a media release that I received on the weekend confirmed that the special program titled ‘Debat Perdana‘ which aired live on the Awesome TV platform on May 12, managed to garner a total of one million views! Wow.
I used to live in Bukit Belimbing in Seri Kembangan, Malaysia and would oftentimes pass the Sapura building on my way to work.
The building was rather run-down and a far cry from the majestic Twin Towers owned by Petronas. It was also situated next to one of my favourite Chinese restaurants – Fatty Crab. Sapura was also once associated with Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son Mokhzani.
Funny that even Tun Dr Mahathir’s house in Mines is situated nearby that building.
So, their debate about Sapura brought back a lot of memories of my days living in Malaysia.
But let us get back to the crux of the matter, the debate itself.
The fact that there has been a rather large viewership on all media outlets broadcasting this debate shows that the Malaysian public is hungry for this sort of intelligent conversation.
It also shows that we have matured as a society and welcome intelligent discussions like this.
Since the debate made its debut last week, there have been a lot of spin-offs of ordinary folks deciphering the content of the debate on social media sites such as TikTok.
It really shows that it is high time Malaysian leaders look into getting themselves into such programs so that the public can also know first-hand who or what their leaders are really made of.
I hope that the buck doesn’t stop here and that there would be more intelligent conversations organised among Malaysian politicians and thought leaders in the country from time to time.

Check out our podcast with the Malaysian news website The Vibes founder Datuk Vinod Sekhar.

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