Test of Democracy in Malaysia

Test of Democracy in Malaysia

Posted in the Islam Forum

Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#1 May 4, 2013
Malaysia poised to pass the democracy test


ONE BROAD test of whether a country is a democracy is whether the results of a national election are known before the votes are counted. For the first time since it became independent from Britain in 1957, Malaysia is poised to pass that test.

After half a century of maintaining itself in power through a mix of authoritarianism, corruption and ethnic favoritism, the ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is in a dead heat with the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition, according to polls. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who has overcome imprisonment and exile during a 15-year campaign to democratize his country, has an even shot to become prime minister, in what would amount to a peaceful revolution in his country of 25 million.

That he has reached that point is due not only to his own courage but also to incumbent Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has done much to liberalize Malaysia’s political system since taking over in 2009. Mr. Najib has repealed some oppressive laws and pared down a legal system of discrimination that favored the ethnic Malay majority. Though his government prosecuted Mr. Anwar on questionable charges of sodomy — repeating the shameful maneuver that once before had been used to send him to prison — the opposition leader won a surprising acquittal early last year, setting up the electoral showdown.

Mr. Anwar is not a perfect partner for the West: A former deputy to strongman Mahathir Mohamad, he has demagogued against Israel in a predominately Muslim country and once alleged that a “Jewish-controlled” U.S. public relations firm was secretly pulling strings in the Malaysian government. But he has built a coalition of Malaysia’s young and rising middle class as well as the long-disempowered ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities. He has promised to abolish controls on the media and end the use of the courts for political purposes.

Mr. Najib, who has been a U.S. ally, is also appealing to moderate voters with promises to continue economic and political reforms. But as Sunday’s election approached, the most pressing question for outsiders was whether the government would stage a free and fair vote. Independent observers and media have chronicled worrying irregularities ranging from attacks on Internet sites supportive of Mr. Anwar to the chartering of planes to fly thousands of people from Malaysia’s provinces on the island of Borneo to closely contested districts on its peninsular territory.

By staging a clean election and vote count Sunday, Mr. Najib still has the opportunity to break ground as a democratizer — and, quite possibly, remain in power as well; the prime minister’s own approval rating of more than 60 percent may carry his party through. But if the election is stolen from Mr. Anwar, all of Malaysia’s progress in recent years could be lost. The prime minister should order his party and election officials to play it straight, and both he and Mr. Anwar should be prepared to accept a legitimate defeat.

Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#2 May 4, 2013
But is Najib a "US ally"??? Perhaps more than Mahathir, but that sounds pretty strannge to me.

Jakarta, Indonesia

#3 May 4, 2013
He is.

Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#4 May 4, 2013
Ray wrote:
He is.
Is this how he became US Ally?

"Najib making Malaysia a US ally, warns Syed Husin"

PETALING JAYA, April 15: PKR deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali (pic) has warned that prime minister Najib Razak's declaration of support for US campaign to isolate Iran over its nuclear project would compromise Malaysia's neutrality into becoming a US ally.

"Iran has stressed many times about the peaceful nature of its nuclear project. Despite this, Najib agrees to lend his support to the campaign against Iran, and at the same time makes no statement about Israel or for that matter any other nuclear powers who clearly have nuclear weapons.

"This is a clear diversion from Asean's neutral policy and shows he has compromised our position into becoming an ally of US imperialism," Syed Husin told Harakahdaily.

He was responding to a report quoting the White House following Najib's 40-minute meeting in Washington with US president Barack Obama.

The White House statement, among others, has said that Najib agreed Iran should be sent a "clear signal".

"The President and the Prime Minister agreed on the importance of Iran strictly abiding by its obligations under the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," it added.

Washington has been leading efforts to toughen sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme, which the US and Western allies say is aimed at producing weapons, a charge Tehran has consistently denied. The US efforts have however met with strong opposition from big powers such as China, Russia, Latin-American countries and Turkey. UN security council members Brazil, Turkey and Lebanon, alongside permanent member China, are expected to oppose the next round of sanctions against Iran.
'Foolish to commit in Afghanistan'

Syed Husin also agreed with a call by PAS president Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang earlier, who said Malaysia should refrain from practising double standards and emulate the government of Turkey which had been consistent over the nuclear row.

"Nuclear weapons should be banned for all countries, and not just for Iran," said Syed Husin.

He also took Najib to task for saying that Malaysia was prepared to cooperate with the US in Afghanistan for "capacity building" through the training of police, military personnel and civilian administrators.

"It is foolish and irresponsible of him to commit in Afghanistan when other countries have begun to withdraw from the country," said the PKR senator, and pointed out that such a decision must be referred to parliament.


Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#5 May 4, 2013
MALAYSIANS are going to the polls Sunday for the most important election in our history. The opposition stands a real chance of winning, for the first time since independence from Britain in 1957. Recent polls show the People’s Alliance, the opposition coalition led by Anwar Ibrahim, running neck and neck with the governing National Front, led by Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The National Front, the direct successor to the Alliance Party of the 1950s, has been one of the world’s longest-governing parties, outside of authoritarian regimes like China, North Korea and Cuba. For half a century, until 2008, it had a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which allowed it to amend Malaysia’s Constitution at will.

Since the 1980s, the governing party has resorted to stoking fears among the country’s many ethnic communities — Malays, Chinese, Indians and many non-Malay indigenous peoples — to keep them beholden to its rule. It has abused affirmative action policies, intended to help impoverished ethnic Malays, in order to enrich its members and their cronies.

Malaysia’s outdated model of governance — a system of racially exclusive parties that deliver patronage to captive racial voter blocs — is no longer sustainable.



Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#7 May 6, 2013
The National Front coalition's victory in Sunday's parliamentary elections despite losing the popular vote has not only exposed the entrenched racial divide in the country but also a new schism — between the rural poor who preferred the status quo and the urban middle-class who wanted change.

People in many urban areas — especially Chinese who are Malaysia's second largest ethnic group — voted overwhelmingly for the opposition, reflecting the huge disenchantment with the government's affirmative action policies that favor Malays.

Speaking at the news conference, Najib blamed a "Chinese tsunami" for the coalition's performance.


Many opposition supporters also believe the coalition resorted to fraud to win, including using migrants from Bangladesh as illegal voters. The government and electoral authorities deny it.

Despite losing the popular vote, the National Front benefited from gerrymandering of constituencies.



Loughton, UK

#8 May 6, 2013
Why do they call it "affirmative action". It is blatant racism that discriminates against Chinese and Hindus.

Since: Apr 12

Concord, CA

#9 May 6, 2013
Onelawforall wrote:
Why do they call it "affirmative action". It is blatant racism that discriminates against Chinese and Hindus.
The "affirmative action" there is the reverse from what we had here. Here it was to protect the minorities, but there it is to protect the muslim majority.

Kansas City, MO

#10 May 6, 2013
Begging for some kind of attention he pedo?

Since: Oct 06

Location hidden

#11 May 6, 2013
Prrrrrrrrrrrrr wrote:
Begging for some kind of attention he pedo?
Go away TommyTroll.

Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#12 May 7, 2013
Prrrrrrrrrrrrr wrote:
Begging for some kind of attention he pedo?
no Tom, people are crying in Malaysia:


Nibong Tebal, Malaysia

#13 May 7, 2013
Trisha wrote:
<quoted text>
Go away TommyTroll.
I can see you have interest in Malaysian affairs.

Since: Apr 12

Martinez, CA

#16 May 7, 2013
Mawar wrote:
<quoted text>
I can see you have interest in Malaysian affairs.
did you cry?

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