Anwar to Najib: Why not debate me? In USA, both candidates dare to debate, in Malaysia Najib is scared to debate

The opposition leader also takes a swipe at the prime minister for his absence in Parliament during the budget debate.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim laughed off today at Prime Minister Najib Razak’s attack on Pakatan Rakyat’s election manifesto and chided him for his refusal to debate on Budget 2013.
Najib recently described Pakatan’s “Buku Jingga” or Orange Book as “not worth the paper it is printed on” at the Gerakan’s annual general assembly here on Saturday, describing Pakatan’s policies as populist and unrealistic.
“You dare to attack us… but when we ask you to debate, you don’t dare to,” Anwar told reporters in Parliament here after delivering his speech at the start of the budget debate earlier today.
The PKR de facto leader also criticised Najib, who also holds the finance portfolio, for his absence in Parliament today.
Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, said Najib was highly irresponsible for evading a debate on the budget, adding that as the finance minister, he must address the voters’ concerns through their elected representatives.
“If he doesn’t want to debate me outside, he should at least provide answers here [in Parliament]. This is a tradition.
“When the opposition leader debates, the finance minister must be present to reply,” he said.
Earlier today, Anwar hit out at Najib’s budget for failing to address structural issues needed to push the economy forward.
Analysts have called it an election budget – the prime minister’s last before national polls are to be held – and warned that Malaysia risked downgrading its rating if it continues to delay the much- needed but unpopular fiscal reforms.
Anwar also dismissed the Barisan Nasional’s challenge to Pakatan to produce a shadow cabinet in an apparent bid to expose the purported cracks in the opposition bloc.
He said the practice of having a shadow cabinet is only carried out in the UK and Australia and not in other developed democracies.

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