KUCHING: Chong Chieng Jen, Bandar Kuching DAP’s candidate, apparently has better things to do on Thursday night than to take up the challenge by his Barisan Nasional opponent, Tan Kai, to a debate.
He considered the oratory battle set to take place at the Dewan Masyarakat Kuching from 7pm as nothing more than a “waste of time” since the theme of the debate chosen by Tan Kai — “Whether the implementation of Islamic law (hudud law) will affect non-Muslims” — was based on an assumption.
Chong, who is Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said the Barisan and Pakatan Rakyat federal leaders have made known their stand on hudud law, and there were more important issues to tackle in the state.
“I have challenged him to debate on the main issues today such as this elections, corruption, abuse of power, the high cost of living, security and education. Those are issues that concern the people but he did not dare to take up my counter challenge. So there is no point in organising one on hudud law,” he said.
“Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin — the three top guns of Umno — have already said it is an impossibility. Karpal Singh (DAP national chairman) has said we would oppose it and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang has said they would not force it on DAP. Tan Kai wants us to debate on an event that is hypothetical. It is a waste of time.”
The hudud law appears to be one of the main issues raised by Tan Kai on his campaign trail and he seems convinced that it would be implemented if Pakatan came into power.
On Sunday, he told reporters that PAS was bent on implementing the law and this would destroy the uniqueness of the state’s cultural diversity.
“It seems that Chong has already accepted hudud law by telling the people that there is nothing to be afraid of regarding hudud law and an Islamic state,” said Tan Kai.
Chong is seeking his third-term as Bandar Kuching MP this elections and Tan Kai is the second consecutive SUPP Youth chief to contest against him.
In the 2008 parliamentary polls, Chong garnered 22,901 votes to defeat the then SUPP Youth chief Alan Sim by a majority of 9,952 votes.
Meanwhile, Chong yesterday led a group of DAP supporters to the Kuching South City Council’s (MBKS) office to protest against the demolition of their campaign billboard by an officer of the local authority, who had allegedly acted out of his jurisdiction.
“The officer was from P196 (Petra Jaya) but he came to take down our poster,” Chong said, explaining that the Election Commission empowers local authority officers for each constituency to take down offensive posters.
However, MBKS mayor James Chan denied that the officer in question was one of his staff but that of the commission.-thestar online