KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 – Former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has finally agreed take on his successor Lim Guan Eng in a nationwide televised debate, saying that he would do so in order to satisfy the latter’s “itch for a fight”.
Dr Koh’s consent, however, does not come without certain pre-conditions, which he insists Lim has to fulfil by Oct 7, failing which the debate would not take place.
In a statement, Dr Koh demanded that Lim publicly disclose the full text of all minutes related to discussions on the Kampung Buah Pala issue in all state executive council meetings during the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) and current Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administrations.
“He must also release certified copies of the land titles and other relevant documents concerned. He cannot just publish a selective, partial and biased chronological summary of exco minutes during my time only as released before,” he said.
Dr Koh added adding that his demand for public disclosure of the information was to deter Lim from twisting and turning facts.
The next condition for the debate was that Lim had to answer three questions – did the PR leaders, especially those in the DAP, promise Kampung Buah Pala residents before and during the 12th General Election that if they were elected into power, the residents could own and stay on the land as it would not be allowed to be developed; before the Kampung Buah Pala land was alienated to the Penang State Civil Service Cooperative, did it belong to the state government or the residents; and why did he Lim allow the transfer of the Kampung Buah Pala land titles to come into effect on March 27, 2008, almost three weeks after he was voted into power and despite being approached by villagers on March 12?
“Only if he(Lim) is prepared to be fully transparent by making public all relevant documents, and to be honest by answering the three simple questions, will the proposed debate be meaningful for me to participate in,” said Dr Koh.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said that he had originally been reluctant to engage in any verbal battle with Lim for he had more important matters to attend to in his current federal portfolio.
“However, as Lim has repeated many times his half-truths to blame me and the BN administration on the Kampung Buah Pala case and other issue, I decided to accept his challenge to clear the air and my own name.
“Since Lim is itching for a fight, I might as well satisfy him,” he said.
He said however that Lim should focus on governing Penang instead of spending his energy provoking, attacking and picking quarrels with others.
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