KOTA KINABALU: Bersih 2.0 has cancelled the Chief Minister candidates debate, as only one out of six invited responded and agreed to participate.
In a statement here on Thursday (Sept 17), the election watchdog steering committee said only Tan Sri Pandikar Amin, de facto leader of Usno, has agreed to join the debate.
"Pandikar was the first to have responded positively to the invitation, while Bersih 2.0 is still waiting for a favourable reply from the other candidates.
"The other prospective candidates for the position of Chief Minister who were invited were president of Parti Warisan Sabah and current caretaker Chief Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal, Parti Cinta Sabah president Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, Sabah Umno chief Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, Sabah Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief Datuk Hajiji Noor and former chief minister Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat from Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
"Unfortunately, all the other candidates either did not respond, or have disagreed to the debate before the due date that was set by us," the steering committee said.
Bersih 2.0 said Pandikar's willingness to face the voters and explain his party’s vision and manifesto for Sabah set a good example in contributing to a healthier and more mature election culture.
The policy debate would have allowed voters to make informed decision for the elections, added Bersih 2.0.
"Bersih 2.0 is really disappointed not to be able to organise this debate.
"If it were to take place, it may bring a new norm to the electoral process in Sabah, with the Chief Minister candidates having to present their arguments, visions and manifesto conclusively to the voters," the steering committee concluded.
Previously before nomination day, Bersih 2.0 announced it has sent out invites for the debate scheduled this Saturday (Sept 19), where the candidates were asked to share their five-year plan to constituents.
It initially said the candidates have until Monday (Sept 14) to reply and will proceed with the debate if at least two candidates agreed to it, with plans to air it live through social media.
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