‘Police played us out’, Nazri says on Dr M debate cancellation

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Umno leader Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz claimed today that it was the police who had ordered his party members to lodge reports so as to halt a debate between him and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In a special question and answer session with the public today, Nazri, who is Padang Rengas Umno division chief and Umno supreme council member, said he was shocked when he found out and had confronted his party members, who then purportedly informed him that they were told to do so by the police.

“Actually the police do not want to allow me to debate with Dr Mahathir. It’s true, because they said it is based on security concerns, as there were many, many police reports made, saying that the villagers did not agree to the debate being held, on the reason that their security will be compromised.

“I asked the police; give me the report, I want to see. They didn’t give. Though they didn’t give, I got it still,” Nazri said, adding that he received five reports, all of which had the same template, with the same sentence structure.

“It was all typed. Not even handwritten, but those who signed below it, my Umno branch leader, my village head was also there. My village head one person, and my Umno Youth member. To all three of them, I asked — ‘Why did you do this work?’ They said police ordered them to,” he added.

“Truly the police played us out. I don’t care if the police are listening. Truly they played us out,” a furious Nazri said.

He said that it was ridiculous to cite security reasons for a mere debate between him, a Cabinet minister, and Dr Mahathir.

He said he was also angry, as he was concerned that the public would label him a cowardly person.

The tourism minister said it was then that he contacted Karangkraf Media Group’s managing editor and owner Datuk Dr Hussamuddin Yaacub to ask that the debate be held at his premise.

‘A day before that, it was cancelled. On the same reason. Security violation,” Nazri added.

He said he felt troubled by the whole arrangement, as Dr Mahathir’s permit to organise a political rally in his parliamentary constituency was not cancelled.

“If there is a debate, whatever he says about Datuk [Seri] Najib [Razak], I can answer. But if you give permit for the rally, my friends, if you heard what Dr Mahathir said, that Prime Minister Najib is a robber, thief, I cannot answer. Why? Because it’s his political rally,” Nazri added.

The dialogue between Dr Mahathir and the tourism and culture minister was originally scheduled for March 25 at the Mara Junior Science College in Kuala Kangsar, Perak.