JOHOR BARU - The public debate between 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) Arul Kanda Kandasamy and DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua should proceed as planned and not be called off, said Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad.
Shahrir disagreed with Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, former chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, who had said a public debate would be "demeaning to the PAC process and its 1MDB probe".
"It will be interesting to witness how the two will take each other on in the issue via a live televised debate," Shahrir told reporters yesterday after meeting Kim Teng Park residents on the land acquisition of their housing estate for a redevelopment project, that was cancelled.
Nur Jazlan, also the Deputy Home Minister, had on Saturday also described the taunting between Arul Kanda and Pua, the PJ Utara MP and a PAC member, as "childish", urging them to stand back and let the PAC do its work without interference.
Said Shahrir: "Give them a chance. How often do Malaysians see live televised debates on national issues in the country?"
Besides, he said, the controversy surrounding the sovereign fund, including how it had chalked up RM42bil (S$13.6 billion) in debts, was now no longer a secret.
Shahrir, however, cautioned Pua against asking questions relating to 1MDB from the Auditor-General's interim report or from the PAC committee.
"It will be contempt of Parliament if Pua does that," he said.
Separately, he urged all Umno members, including top leaders, to practise moderation and listen to all views and even accept criticism from other party members.