JOHOR BARU: The debate about a Chinese school slated for Sunday (March 6) has been cancelled after police did not approve the permit for the debate.
Johor MCA secretary Datuk Ng Keng Heng said an official letter has been sent to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on the matter.
“Even though you have yet to give a response about your attendance, Johor MCA still has the responsibility to inform you of the police’s decision," said Ng.
"We hope you can make yourself available for a future debate with our party president before the end of your tenure as DAP secretary-general on March 20," he added in a letter that included a copy of the police’s response regarding the event.
Ng said to Lim that a debate between both party’s top guns will be in line with Lim's ‘political hierarchy’ concept
It is understood that DAP’s headquarters acknowledged that they have received the official letter.
The much-anticipated debate was supposed to take place at 2pm on Sunday (March 6) and the stage had been set at the Johor Baru Tiong-Hua Association hall.
On March 1, Dr Wee challenged Lim to the debate over his claims that the former did not contribute as much as him towards the construction of SJKC Kuek Ho Yao in Seri Austin here.
Lim had allegedly made the claim at a ceramah during the second night of the Johor state election campaign.
Back in March 2018, then Penang chief minister Lim was quoted as saying that he would only debate the state’s tunnel-roads issue with MCA president Liow Tiong Lai.
Lim reportedly said then MCA deputy president Dr Wee, who had issued the challenge, was not fit to engage with a debate with him based on the principle of political protocol.
Meanwhile, Johor police chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said that the debate between Dr Wee and Lim was cancelled as it could lead to social unrest.
He added that only ceramah will be allowed throughout the campaigning period for the Johor polls and that the parties involved are advised to find other ways to discuss the matter.
“The decision (to reject the permit request) was made after discussing the matter with my senior officers as the police view that this programme could lead to public unrest in Johor," said Comm Kamarul Zaman.
“Only ceramah are allowed and those who apply for a ceramah permit will be approved and facilitated by the police, except for ceramah that were rejected to safeguard the wellbeing of the people in Johor,” he added.
He said this during a press conference at the Johor Police Headquarters here on Sunday
Comm Kamarul Zaman explained that some of the reasons why a ceramah permit request could be rejected were due to the close proximity between two opposing political parties.
“So for this case, they applied for a face-to-face debate, which we will not approve of," he said.
“The current condition for campaigning is already good. Everything is calm and under control, so we do not want an incident to be a spark that could lead to instability and disrupt the campaign period,” added Comm Kamarul Zaman.
He also said that, from Feb 26 until March 6, a total of 1,411 ceramah permits have been approved, with six appeals having been rejected, including the permit for the debate.
“The police will approve any ceramah if the location is okay, and we will help by sending our team to help monitor the situation to ensure everything is under control," said Comm Kamarul Zaman.
“But if the ceramah is located next to each political party and done in the same period of time, we will reject it as we want to avoid any untoward incidents from happening,” he added.