I was in a kopitiam in Raja Uda watching the debate. After watching the debate, below are my personal comments on that. I divided it into two perspective, political view and academic view.
Politically, both sides did manage to entertain the crowd. They know what the issues that they should focus on are and what are the issues that they should sweep under the carpet. They are also good in creating an imaginary situation that favour to their side. Thumb up for them. For example, Lim keeps on avoiding issue on PAS. Chua argues that DAP itself has already failed in securing abolishment of Sungai Nyoir toll collection. They also argue in terms of economy, which on the surface level rather than feasible framework. Anyhow, both of them generally are able to please the crowd. Personally, from the beginning, I think that Lim is slightly nervous compared to Chua. Not really sure about this thing, but I analyse it from the tiny actions hand signs coming from him.
However, in an academic or university debating level, both speakers do not really answer the crux of the debate. The main point of contention that Lim needs to answer is the relationship of DAP and PAS. He failed to give an assurance that PAS definitely wouldn’t be able to form an Islamic State while maintaining as a member of PR should they won enough Parliamentary seats. At the end of the day, a grand coalition party is not about a component party alone, but rather the cooperation between all component parties. The success of a single or dominant component party can’t help the overall grand coalition to succeed. This can be seen through UMNO in Penang State Assembly.
Same case happened to Chua. It is already well-known that BN and UMNO are corrupted. I will still be using the same dictum that I used to use. Whatever truth does not important, it is the people perspective that matters. Since corruption image has severely attached to BN generally, Chua needs to address the issue well. If can’t, he needs to at least divert the issue to the contribution of MCA and the worthiness of maintaining MCA in power. It is good for him to pose lots of questions and launch attack on DAP, but he also needs to prove why must the people continue to support MCA.
I am just curious about a few issues. Firstly, as generally known by a lot of people if not all, the toll collection is under the jurisdiction of Federal government. The State government has no authority on that. Anyhow, for fence-sitters, can they really accept the legally true fact? This is because like it or not, the toll is in Penang. How to convince people that they are not responsible for that? Or this is an ignorable issue?
Secondly, they touched on economy issue. However, economy issue is not just as surface as they debate. There are a lot of details that hardly can be understood by commoners. For example, why Penang state government can achieve surplus in such a short time? How can a government survive if keep on giving out money and benefits to the people. Are the people interested in this kind of developmental issues or they can be satisfied easily by giving them benefits only, ignoring the capability or economy efficiency of a government?
Anyhow, what I can notice from this debate is that Lim is trying to get to non-Chinese community as well through this debate. No wonder he is so eager for another round of Malay or English debate. His stance is non-controversial, trying to be as multiracial as possible. At the same time, Chua is trying to prove MCA position is local politics. Nothing’s wrong for both leaders. In fact, it is a good stance since DAP has already have strong support from the Chinese community. So it is the time to get to the non-Chinese community. For MCA, non-Chinese community might not be their concern. Definitely, they wouldn’t have chance to explore to non-Chinese majority seats with the fact that they are a Chinese-based political party and secondly, those seats will be grabbed firmly by UMNO.
In a nutshell, I will say that it is indeed a very good political debate. But sadly, the feasibility part is a bit lacking.