Stop the Charade!

By Lim Kit Siang

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is outdoing himself every day with taller and ever incredible claims – yesterday claiming that no one else but Barisan Nasional should take credit for the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other law reforms he announced in his Malaysia Day message and today reiterating that the repeal of the ISA is not due to pressure from any quarter but an effort to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”.

Najib should stop the charade of claiming to want to be the “best democracy in the world” when what he should do is to immediately end Malaysia’s ranking as a “flawed democracy” before Malaysia could qualify to rank among the full democracies in the world.

The third edition of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Democracy Index 2010 released early this year categorised Malaysia as a “flawed democracy” due to “a gradual erosion of civil liberties and political culture in the past year” with Malaysia’s aggregate score dropping 0.17 to 6.19 out of 10 from the previous index in 2008, and the overall country ranking falling from 68th to 71st out of 167 countries.

Twenty-six countries, headed by Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand,Australia, Finland, Switzerland, Canada and Netherlands in the top 10, were in the first category of 26 “Full democracies” – which includes two Asian countries, South Korea (20) and Japan (22).

Malaysia with the overall 71st ranking, is in the second category of “Flawed Democracies”, trailing behind South Africa (30), Chile (34), Taiwan (36), Israel (37), India (40), Timor-Leste (42), Jamaica (43), Panama (46), Brazil (47), Mexico (50), Argentina (51), Sri Lanka (55), Thailand (57), Indonesia (60) and Mongolia (64).

Who advised Najib that the repeal of the ISA (which is be replaced with two new laws raising concerns whether they would be ISA type of substitutes) and other reforms, Malaysia will catapult not only from the ranks of “Flawed Democracies” but to top the ranking of “Full Democracies” as to be the “best democracy in the world”?

The EIU’s Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture.

The condition of having free and fair competitive elections, and satisfying related aspects of political freedom, is regarded as the sine quo non of all definitions of a democracy.

On “electoral process and pluralism”, Malaysia trails behind 88 other countries – 26 “Full Democracies” and 62 “Flawed Democracies”.