KUALA LUMPUR: All prospective Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates for the 15th General Election (GE15) will have to undergo vetting, including by religious department, before they can be allowed to contest, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said the vetting by the religious authority, the first time to be carried out for elections in the country, is aimed at ensuring that the prospective candidates are not among those involved in Syariah cases, including matrimonial issues.

"We will do the vetting with the police, the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), the Insolvency Department, and maybe this time around with the religious department.

"Maybe we have to check with the Kadi's Office too to know if any of the candidates got married in Siam (Thailand), or did not pay child support or has a pending judgment at a syariah court.

"We never checked all of these before, but this time around, we will go into details," he told a press conference after attending a special briefing on GE15 and the northeast monsoon at Bukit Aman here today.

On Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's call for a public debate between prime minister candidates ahead of the GE15, Ismail Sabri said that it was not a culture in Malaysia.

"It's not our culture, it was never done before and it doesn't do any good. If given the opportunity to debate, one would brag on his manifesto, he'll promise the moon and the stars.

"So, there's no need for a debate...we will just form a government based on the people's mandate. After all, we will be busy campaigning in our respective constituencies," he said.

Prior to this, Anwar proposed for the three prime minister candidates from PH, BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) to engage in a public debate on policy matters.

On the application of Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) to become BN's component party, Ismail Sabri said the matter was still under consideration.

The Election Commission has set the polling for the GE15 on Nov 19, nomination on Nov 5 and early voting on Nov 15.