KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong has reiterated he is ready to go head to head with DAP’s Lim Guan Eng over the government’s cabotage exemption policy.
He also gave his assurance that a suitable date for the debate will be announced in due course.
Earlier, in Parliament today, Lim, who is also Bagan MP, had highlighted the resignation of Datuk Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff as Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman yesterday, claiming the latter had decided to do so to avoid being a ‘yes man’.
“I hope the above matter should be referenced so a debate can take place as to how he had challenged me previously.
“So I am suggesting that it be held on October 23, Saturday, and will be moderated by Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming,” Lim said.
In response, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said Wee had provided him with feedback after raising the matter with him.
“YB minister said he was prepared and will not back out. He also said after the Cabinet has finalised the cabotage exemption policy this month, he would fix a suitable date to discuss and debate the issue with YB Bagan on any television channel or media network in Bahasa Malaysia,” Azhar replied.
On September 30, Lim had accepted the transport minister’s debate challenge during Question Time in Parliament.
The cabotage row began when Wee, in November 2020, revoked the exemption charges given by former transport minister Anthony Loke when Pakatan Harapan was government.
Shortly after the revocation, Rais Hussin issued a public statement criticising the exemption reversal.
In April, Facebook and Google revealed they would lay two huge subsea cables that will link the US West Coast to Singapore and Indonesia, South-east Asia’s biggest economy and home to a growing number of smartphone users, bypassing Malaysia.
Rais was appointed MDEC chairman on June 13, 2020.
His resignation came days after he made disparaging remarks about Wee on the cabotage issue.
Rais, who has been critical of the government’s decision to revoke the cabotage exemption for foreign vessels undertaking submarine cable repairs, had referred to Wee as a “minister with an IQ of a cabbage” on social media.