Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Najib, the False Democrat

Canada’s The Globe and Mail had a June 08, 2012 piece on autocrats of the world, written by award-winning and Beijing-based Mark Mackinnon (Webpage In the article, Mackinnon categorizes autocrats into four groups – false democrats, mad egotists, violent populists and callous capitalists.

Our Najib Razak was put into the first category. I personally agree with this and if readers check out the write-up below – you may just agree with me!


Club members: Russian President Vladimir Putin; Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas; Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak; Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika; Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi; Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

Ex-members: Slobodan Milosevic; Hosni Mubarak

Key characteristics: They hold elections but have no intention of giving up power. Serious political rivals are jailed and their parties are outlawed on legal technicalities. Putin’s spin doctors call it “managed democracy” – giving voters the appearance of choice while ensuring they have very little to choose from on election day.

Reason for hope: Because they allow the trappings of democracy – opposition parties, some independent media, the very process of going through an election every few years – these false democracies create the possibility of change. Milosevic and Mubarak were ousted because citizens used the political space allowed them in a false democracy. Russia’s opposition has similarly been on the advance over the past seven months. The next election in Malaysia promises to be interesting.

Reason for despair: False democracies give the impression of being freer than they really are, which means they rarely face the kind of international pressure that the really nasty regimes get.

Finally, somebody has pointed out Malaysia’s sham democracy!

I finally made my very first visit to the WIM Toastmasters Club at Taman Tun Dr Ismail. I might have brought them luck because altogether fifteen people (that included eight visiting Toastmasters and 3 non-Toastmasters) were there yesterday. This is a club in crisis and so it is heart-warming to know that Toastmasters from clubs in Division G came to give support. I took up two roles – as that of Table Topics Master as well as Evaluator for Timothy Nakayama who presented his Advanced speech. And Sheryl Chieng took up the gauntlet to be the General Evaluator – her maiden role – and I must say that she acquitted herself rather well. This meeting deserved a 7 out of a 10.

No comments: