PAS Disappointed At Najib’s Refusal To Debate With Nik Aziz
By Wong Choon Mei
PAS is disappointed that Prime Minister Najib Razak has rejected any public debate with its spiritual adviser Nik Aziz Nik Mat even before receiving an official invitation or considering the merits of the issues, which if raised openly, could benefit the people.
“I am sorry and sad that Umno did not even consider the matter, but had simply shot it down,” Nik Aziz told reporters in Kota Baru on Monday.
The Kelantan Menteri Besar had issued the invitation after Najib and Umno criticised him for rejecting any talks to form a unity government with Umno and the BN coalition.
The Islamic scholar added that the invitation was still with him as his political secretary was overseas and due to return only on Wednesday.
More transparent than closed-door dialogue
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub said Umno should not fear debate, which was a better option than dialogue held behind closed doors which was what Najib had proposed.
“I have debated with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz, and others too have been involved in other debates and they turned out well,” he said.
Salahuddin also said if Najib was afraid of being grilled over certain issues, such as oil and gas royalty owed to Kelantan, then they could still debate on other topics that could benefit the Muslim community, such as religion.
“Perhaps what Nik Aziz wanted was to debate current issues, and one of the latest is oil and gas royalty for Kelantan,” said Salahuddin.
“Even if the debate were to be more on Islamic matters, it should also not be a problem, and both parties would prepare their arguments.
Meanwhile, another Umno leader has rushed to join the queue defending Najib for turning down the debate challenge.
BN Menteri Besar for Perak Zambry Kadir, who owes his position to Najib, accused his counterpart in Kelantan of arrogance.
“He should not regard himself as so terrific, because sometimes when we feel we are so great, we don’t realise there are others who are better than us,” Zambry told reporters.
“Nik Aziz should be speaking based on religious knowledge and not on his emotions.”
According to Zambry, an open debate would not benefit anyone and may create disunity.
“I don’t think that the prime minister is incapable of debating with Nik Aziz, but I believe Najib is thinking more of the effects on the community,” he added.