KUALA LUMPUR - PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli wants 1Malaysia Development Bhd president Arul Kanda Kandasamy to go ahead with the debate now that he is replacing Tony Pua in the square-off.
He said 1MDB was an issue of national concern and should not be restricted to a war of words between two specific individuals.
"Both Pua and I have been raising issues about 1MDB since 2011, way before Arul joined the company.
"So, for Arul to hide behind the reasoning that the debate is only about him and Pua is not really accurate because this is an issue that affects the rakyat and not a personal one," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.
The Pandan MP also suggested that Arul Kanda might have wrongly interpreted Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia's ruling when he said any debate could only take place after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing.
"The Speaker clearly stated that he has no power to stop someone who isn't a PAC member from speaking publicly on 1MDB.
"He (Arul Kanda) agreed unconditionally, so he cannot make a U-turn days later and say he no longer wants to (debate)," he said, adding that the Opposition would harass the 1MDB chief until he agreed to the debate.
Seremban MP Anthony Loke said the Speaker had made it clear that a PAC member could not be part of the debate and so Arul Kanda should accept it instead of trying to find a way of avoiding the debate.
"We cannot have more MPs from one party in the PAC. It will change the committee's composition. If Pua resigns, DAP will have one less member in the PAC," he said.
Loke said it expected other terms of the debate, like the live telecast by RTM, to remain unchanged, adding that he looked forward to discussing the matter with Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak.
"If RTM is not agreeable, then we will open it up to other media organisations willing to host it," he said, hoping for it to be held after Deepavali.