Sunday, April 25, 2010

DEMOCRACY


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on March 21, 2010 5:00 PM

1. Many people think that as soon as you accept democracy, then you will be practising democracy.

2. Unfortunately mere acceptance is not enough. It is not enough because everyone, from the top most person to the ordinary people, be they from a political party or of a nation, can find ways to abuse and frustrate the true democratic process. As a result we see democracies failing to work in most organisations or political parties and in many nations.

3. Basically democracy is about giving power to the majority. It is assumed that the majority knows what is best for the whole. The minority should therefore be prepared to accept the rule of the majority albeit after presenting opposing views and criticisms. The minority must be prepared to wait for the next election in order to make another bid.

4. In a mature democracy almost everyone respects the results of national elections. The majority forms the Government and the minority take their places in the legislature and try their best to influence policies and laws introduced by the majority Government. And so for the four or five years before the next elections, the legislature debates, approves or disapproves the proposals by the Government. But the minority and even the individual legislator may also move proposals or laws although in most instances they will not get through for lack of majority support. Playing their parts, both the majorty and the minority would contribute to the proper workings of a democratic Government.

5. Political parties love democracy as it seems to be fair to everyone. Anyone can bid for any place in the party, including the top most. That is the theory at least.

6. But the reality is that only certain people could aspire to lead because of the support of a substantial number of the members.

7. Ideally in a contest the one with the biggest number of supporters should win. Ideally as with Government the loser and his supporters should accept the decision of the majority.

8. Unfortunately the loser or losers may not want to accept the results. This can ultimately lead to the party being split and weakened.

9. The process may have been very democratic but the objective of choosing a leader by majority vote has not been achieved. The losers must also remember that when they win they same can happen to them. In other words a deocratic contest can only lead to the break-up of the party (I am speaking from experience).

10. I would like to cheer on the candidates who are contesting for any post anywhere through the democratic process. Obviously only one would win. If those who lose cannot accept the decision of the majority of the members, then it is better not to talk about democracy. You really do not know what democracy is about. *

* Of course I am assuming the contest is fair.