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Malaysia PM Ismail Sabri Rejects Debate Offer From Opposition Leader Anwar

ASIA

Malaysia's caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob rejected an offer from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to have an open debate with all prime ministerial candidates, noting that it is not part of the local political culture.

  • The main contenders for the top job include Barisan Nasional's Ismail Sabri, Pakatan Harapan's Anwar and Perikatan Nasional's Muhyiddin.
  • The refusal to hold a debate represents part of the ruling party's tactic of leveraging its influence on the timetable of the election to improve its performance.
  • The Prime Minister conceded that a debate would allow Anwar to "give his promise, manifesto, even the moon and the starts will be promised."
  • Meanwhile, the ruling party's de facto manifesto is Budget 2023 tabled in parliament just before the Prime Minister announced a snap election.

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