BUTTERWORTH: Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak says he was caught by surprise with the about turn by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang to the proposed debate between them, which was supposed to take place next month.
It was because it was Lim who had mooted the idea of a debate, Najib claimed -and he underlined that he was just responding to the challenge to hold a debate.
“Lim initiated it and I was just responding,“ he told a press conference”
“If you ask me, Lim has lost his credibility as a leader by backing out of the challenge. In terms of moral, he has lost his standing and his principles.”
Najib alleged that he clinched a moral victory after the DAP strongman decided to back out, citing that he was concerned about the racial strife that it may cause.
He said that in the eyes of the people, it was Lim who had lost.
“As far as the public are concerned, I think Lim lost in the battle of perception and morals,“ Najib told a press conference.
The Pekan MP was visiting Penang on the invitation of the state Umno.
Asked to describe his new found popularity with the grassroots here, Najib said that one of the factors was that the protocol arrangement was reduced now.
“When I was the prime minister, I wanted to meet the people but I was discouraged by the police due to concerns about my personal safety. The police could not guarantee my safety and security so I was forced to abide by them.”
Now, Najib said that he was more free to mingle with the people.
While the other factors have to do with the present government’s failure to meet the promises made and bring about the changes that the people desired, he noted.