Sunday, March 2, 2008

M'sia's govt rejects call for American-style political debate ahead of election - AP

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S government has rejected an Islamic opposition party's challenge to hold an American-style public debate between their leaders ahead of March 8 general elections, news reports said on Sunday.

Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party President Abdul Hadi Awang recently dared Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to hold a televised debate similar to those held by US presidential candidates.

But the Sunday Star newspaper quoted Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz as saying there was no place for such debates in Malaysia.

'We don't follow the American system in our country. We (the country's leaders) should be debating with villagers or town folks concerning local issues affecting them,' she said in the report.

An aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing protocol, confirmed the minister's comments but did not give further details.

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