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Wednesday, June 27, 2012
'False Democrat' Najib put on International Rogues Gallery: Malaysia on WORLD WATCH as GE looms
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle
If Prime Minister Najib Razak thought he had succeeded in pulling wool over the eyes of the Malaysian people and the international community with a slew of reforms that have been described by critics as "whitewash", "insincere" and "sinister", he is terribly wrong.
And just like the mythical Emperor who wore no clothes, the 58-year old Malaysian leader is now being peeled and exposed for hypocrisy and accused of harboring dark intentions to retain power by force as have many of the world's disgraced despots.
Just months ago, Najib was crowned co-champion of "double-talk" by the influential Washington Post which is read by the likes of President Obama and other top US leaders. The Washington Post lashed out in a stinging editorial after Najib controversially deported Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari home to face certain torture and perhaps even death. The blunt language used by the US paper raised eyebrows and caused many to cough nervously in the corridors of power in Putrajaya, the Malaysian administrative capital.
But no, Najib and his advisers would not take the hint and clean up their act. Stubbornly, they clung to the belief that because they controlled the local mainstream media, they held the upper hand. If they told a lie often enough, the people and the world would believe them!
However, it did not work. Not only have Najib's attempts to pass glib sleight-of-hand laws that strengthen his own grip on power under the guise of 'reforms' been seen through, he has been slammed locally whilst a reputable Canadian newspaper has now categorized him as being a "false democrat".
"False democracies give the impression of being freer than they really are, which means they rarely face the kind of international pressure that the ally nasty regimes get," said the article published on June 8 by The Globe and Mail.
Like Mubarak & Co, Najib will use all ways to cling on
Entitled 'A 21st-century checklist of the new autocrats', the article also places Najib in the same league as the world's worst autocrats. The author Mark Mackinnon had categorised autocrats into four groups - false democrats, mad egotists, violent populists and callous capitalists.
Najib was put into the first category, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The 'ex-members' of the club are former Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic and former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak.
Mackinnon said such leaders "hold elections but have no intention of giving up power" and their "serious political rivals are jailed and their parties are outlawed on legal technicalities".
According to Opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Najib was clearly very upset by the article. But no denial would hold any traction unless Najib issued a public pledge that he and his Umno party would pass over power peacefully if they lost at the ballot boxes, Lim said in response to news that the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry had challenged the Canadian article.
"A week ago, I had asked Najib to declare publicly whether he is prepared to accept the verdict of the electorate to ensure a peaceful transition of federal government if Pakatan Rakyat wins the next general election," said Kit Siang, who also the MP for Ipoh Timur.
"It is significant that at the post-UMNO Supreme Council press conference last Friday, Najib studiously avoided answering this question when it was posed by the press. Hence, the question Malaysians and the world are asking is whether Najib is a false democrat who holds elections but has no intention of giving up power."
Najib now in int'l rogues gallery: GE-13 promises to be "interesting"
To Mackinnon, there is reason for hope in countries governed by such leaders as the "false democracies" they practiced also created the possibility of change.
"Mr Milosevic and Mr Mubarak were ousted because citizens used the political space allowed them in a false democracy... The next election in Malaysia promises to be interesting," said Mackinnon.
However, in a rebuttal published today, the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry detailed a list of reforms initiated by Najib over the past three years, describing these as "an impressive track record by anyone's standards".
The reforms included the abolition of Internal Security Act, ending of a 60-year state of emergency, measures to increase media freedom, amendment to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the enactment of the Peaceful Assembly Act, announcement to review the Sedition Act, repeal of the Banishment Act and the Restricted Residences Act, as well as the implementation of electoral reforms.
"This view does not tally with the fact that the opposition won an unprecedented number of seats in the last election.Next time round, Malaysians will again be free to choose who they want to lead their country - and while the prime minister takes nothing for granted, he hopes he will be given a mandate to continue Malaysia's transformation," fumed foreign ministry under-secretary Ahmad Rozian in his letter.