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Wan Farid (BN KT candidate) backs away from debate challenge - malaysiakini

Malaysiakini's report:

Barisan Nasional candidate Wan Ahmad Farid today said that he will not take part in a debate with PAS candidate Abdul Wahid Endut on the oil royalty controversy.

The debate was to be organised by a Terengganu-based non-governmental organisation.

kuala terengganu by election wan farid interview 090109 02Wan Ahmad said that there was no issue to debate since the oil royalty had been restored to the state of Terengganu.

"I have not received any invitation (for the debate). Even if I received one, I would not be debating on things which has been settled and resolved," he said during a press conference at the Kuala Terengganu Umno division headquarters today.

"If the policy has not been changed and the federal government has not agreed to return the royalty, then only there is an issue to be debated".

Earlier today, the Terengganu People's Solidarity Council (Mampat) announced that it has sent invitations to both candidates regarding the debate.

Mampat chairperson Mohd Fauzi Abdul Samad said that the debate was slated for 8pm on Thursday at the Terengganu Equestrian and Country Club.

"The Terengganu people want to know about the status of the oil royalties. An open debate will allow voters to elect a candidate who fights for oil royalties," Mohd Fauzi told Malaysiakini.

Terengganu PAS deputy chief Wan Abdul Mutalib Embong issued a similar challenge this morning at a separate press conference though it was open to any Umno leader or their representatives.

'No infighting'

Wan Abdul Mutalib claimed that the oil royalty issue was yet to be resolved. Among others, he said that the royalty received thus far was only for 2007 and 2008.

Responding to this, Wan Ahmad denied Wan Abdul Mutalib's claims and said that the RM408 million in oil royalties received earlier this month was agreed upon by both the state and federal government.

"There has been a series of meeting to work out what the real figures are. Having agreed on the actual figures, it came out to about RM408 million," he said.

Wan Ahmad also brushed aside a Malaysian Insider report which claimed that his main critic came from within his own party.

"I will not comment on things which cannot be proven. I believe that the spirit within the party is very high. It is not a question of whether Wan Ahmad Farid must win. What matters is that Barisan Nasional must win.

"Every member of the party realises that failure is not an option and therefore they would never do anything that contributes to Barisan losing the seat," he said.

Not funding outstation voters

On eligible voters residing in other states, Wan Ahmad Farid said that the party has identified about 6,000 such voters, who are being reminded about their obligation to vote.

"We know their place of work, where they are studying and their phone numbers. We are contacting them and appealing for them to fulfil their duties as voters," he said.

While acknowledging that a special committee had been formed to look into outstation voters, Wan Ahmad Farid denied that Umno would be funding their travel expenditures.

"We don't have a policy of contributing to voters who come back to vote. We believe that voting is their obligation and (the act of voting) should be treated with honour," he added.

He said this when asked to respond to an e-mail, which was allegedly a leaked document outlining the budget for bringing in some 8,417 outstation voters for the by-election.

The e-mail has been circulated to a large number of journalists covering the by-election by an unidentified source -