PETALING JAYA: With the 15th General Election looming, more public debates between contesting politicians should be organised, says Bersih.
The electoral reform group said the recent debate between Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was a good display of mature and professional democracy that should be encouraged.
"Bersih congratulates the recent 'Debat Perdana' on May 12. The debate was conducted professionally and both participants were able to exchange views with quality and maturity.
"Through public debates, the people are better informed of the ideology and viewpoints of politicians on different issues and policies.
"This can encourage the people to be more attentive and involved in politics, and will also be able to make informed decisions on issues or policies that can shape the country’s future," said the Bersih steering committee in a statement Saturday (May 14).
Bersih called on more mainstream media companies to organise public debates involving leaders of political parties and election candidates where they can showcase their respective manifestos and vision.
"Previously, Bersih together with several media companies launched the #SuaraUntukSemua initiative at the Melaka, Sarawak and Johor elections.
"Our initiatives involve giving candidates media space to introduce themselves to voters, present their party manifestos and also provide a platform for debates between candidates.
"Bersih views open debates as a positive step to promote and cultivate healthier and more mature competition in politics," said Bersih.
On Thursday (May 12), Anwar and Najib were involved in a debate at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (Matic) in Kuala Lumpur, with the topics touching on problems faced by oil and gas company Sapura Energy Berhad as well as other issues.
The debate was aired live on national TV and it proceeded smoothly.