Press Release (23rd February, 2019):Debate Cancelled but Nik Aziz and Kuan Will Still Go “Live”

Bersih 2.0 is pleased to announce that after discussions with Astro, we agreed that they should live  telecast Wacana Sinar’s Semenyih Pasca PRK where Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul of PSM and Kuan Chee Heng the independent candidate will be on the panel. This forum will be held at Dewan Karangkraf, Seksyen 15, Shah Alam on the 27th February, 2019 from 3-5pm. You can watch it live on Astro Awani channel 501.

Bersih 2.0 commends the progressive team behind Astro who shares our desire to see public debates as a new norm in politics and media organisations like Sinar Harian that provide platforms for public interest discourses. The key role media organisations plays as the fourth estate to strengthen democracy in this country is critical and we fully support such efforts.

Bersih 2.0 has been criticised by some quarters for cancelling the debate for the candidates of the Semenyih by-election after both the PH and BN candidates declined our invitation to debate. Some criticized us for marginalizing the smaller parties and independents by being dictated to by the main parties. We would like to clarify further the decision we made to cancel the debate.

The proposed debate would have been telecast live on national TV by Astro and livefed to TV1, as it was during the Cameron Highlands by-election. An understanding we had with these broadcasters was that we would secure the participation of all or most of the candidates before they would consider a live telecast. We fully understand their need to justify the cost incurred to set up a mobile unit to do a live telecast from a remote location in Semenyih.

Bersih 2.0 initiated this debate between election candidates with the inaugural debate in Cameron Highlands to promote a healthy exchange of ideas among candidates and to level the playing field for all contestants. We are still very much committed to these objectives and will endeavour to pursue them despite the many challenges we face.

With the live telecast by Astro of the forum where Nik Aziz and Kuan will be on the panel with two other panelists, they will have the opportunity to speak to tens of thousand on why they should be elected as the state assemblyperson for Semenyih, something that both the PH and BN candidates will missed out on.

Bersih 2.0 will organise a telecast candidate debate for the upcoming Rantau by-election. We hope all candidates – especially the ones from PH and BN – will have the gut to talk about their visions and missions before camera for the national audience.

Statement released by:

The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0