I AGREE with Ng Tze Shiung (NST, April 14) that our prime minister’s interview on TV to answer hot-button issues is a landmark in the nation's progress towards making the government more open to the public.
I suggest that this programme of putting the PM on the mat should be held from time to time in line with the practice in other democratic countries, where the chief executive of the country must communicate with the public to explain the issues that concern them.
It is in the interest of the PM that the interview be held live to boost its credibility.
It would be better still if the interviewer is accompanied by another presenter who can play the role of devil’s advocate or the inquisitor to ask the questions that need to be asked, leaving no stone untouched.
Looking at how leaders in the West are grilled on TV, and the analysis of their replies that follows in a discussion by commentators, the president or prime minister benefits by being seen as a good communicator.
Sometimes, imperfection can burnish leaders’ image as a man of the people. A mispronunciation or a gaffe can create jokes that make the leader look more likeable.
A famous example of this in Malaysia was first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.
His unbecoming prime ministerial remarks made him a common man to us, much loved by the people.
I believe if our media can do the candid no-holds-barred interview, it will turn out to be a great primetime show.
The TV stations can get sponsors to advertise their companies and charge high fees for doing so. They can use the money to pay the interviewers handsomely for making it such an entertaining programme.
Thus, it’s a win-win situation for all.