Tuesday, March 1, 2011


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on February 28, 2011 10:30 AM

1. The people of Tunisia and Egypt have overthrown their Governments. A number of people have been killed in the process. More will follow before the uprisings will be over. Now comes the problem of setting up new Governments which would make the struggle and the sacrifices worthwhile. If the new Governments fail then all the struggles and sacrifices would have been in vain.

2. I am sure that the people would want to see a democratic Government, a Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

3. This sounds great but Government by the people will not be so easy. You cannot have the people directly governing themselves. You will need to have a new constitution and political parties which will enable representatives of the people to form the Government. For this, elections will have to be held. Unfortunately elections can be manipulated.

4. There will be a rush to grab for power by nationalists and by opportunists. It will not always be the good people who will win to form Governments. The idea of people choosing their leaders sounds very democratic but the people may not be savvy as to the quality of the candidates. Sectarian loyalties, money and narrow-mindedness may bring instability, economic regression and even anarchy.

5. The administrative machinery would need to be revamped and retrained as they would not be familiar with the democratic system. The police and military will have to understand professionalism i.e. that they will be the permanent part of the Government as against the elected Government which will last only as long as they manage to retain the support of the people.

6. The professional administrators, military and police must learn to be subservient to the elected Governments even when they are changed by the electorate through periodic elections. Their political affiliations will be private as they will have to serve whichever party forms the Government. It is going to be hard. The temptation to seize power will plague the minds of many.

7. Both the elected and permanent members of the Government will wield power to some degree. Power corrupts and will affect the performance of the Government. It is not necessary that the Government which replaces the old regime will be free from corruption. The people may have to try to remove the Government again and again with no certainty the replacements would be any better.

8. I pray and hope that the people who had suffered so much under the old regimes and suffered more in their present struggle will be rewarded with Governments that they had dreamed off.