PETALING JAYA: Yayasan Orator’s Muhammad Yunus Zakariah (pic) expects an electrifing atmosphere during tonight’s debate between Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, three days before the planned Bersih 3.0 sit-in protest at Dataran Merdeka.
With Malaysians divided over the need for a third rally after Bersih 2.0 less than a year ago, public attention will focus on both leaders' arguments.
Ambiga, who was a key figure in Bersih 2.0 and cochair of Bersih 3.0, will have to defend the need for the rally to ensure electoral reform against criticisms by Khairy over its necessity.
Yunus said the public were tired of political rhetoric and expected both debaters to dwell on principles and the need for electoral reform.
“I am excited on what is going to be spoken by the two leaders and as a moderator, I will try to maximise the debate and engagement from the audience.
“I would love to hear the principles and what is demanded in electoral reform rather than the politics of electoral reform,” he told The Malay Mail.
He said "Spark the Debate" was an important platform for Ambiga and Khairy to expound their views.
“It is an important opportunity for Ambiga to explain to fence-sitters, those who are unsure what Bersih is doing and are having second thoughts about Bersih 3.0.
“Khairy will also have his opportunity to address the fence-sitters on what Bersih demands. This debate is not only for those who are for or against Bersih 3.0, but also for the general public who wish to understand more about electoral reforms,” he said.
The debate is the second in The Malay Mail’s Spark the Debate series which will be held from 8pm at The Club@Bukit Utama, Bukit Utama Golf Course in Bandar Utama.
Entitled Electoral Reform: Is enough being done? the debate is supported by UCSI University and Yayasan Orator.
Khairy hopes the debate will help the public to “form a rational evaluation” of the issue.
“I look forward to meeting Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, whom I believe would be a tough challenger on stage as she was on the street for the Bersih 2.0 rally last July. I believe this is the best opportunity for each side to present its case, facts and arguments for the benefit of all.
“It is also my hope the public will get a better perspective and understanding of the issue so as to form a rational evaluation at the end of the session,” he said.
“Many thanks also to The Malay Malay as the main organiser, for its contributions in making Malaysia a better democratic society, through initiatives such as the Spark the Debate series,” he said.
Ambiga said although she and Khairy were on opposite ends on the issue, she believed both wanted a better democracy for Malaysia.
“I am looking forward to the debate on electoral reform with Khairy. He will no doubt be a formidable adversary and I anticipate a meaningful exchange of views.
“Ultimately our goals are the same — that is to strengthen the democratic process in the country. The debate culture is catching on! Well done to The Malay Mail for starting this important debate series,” she said.