Wisma Putra denies Najib is ‘false democrat’
UPDATED @ 04:28:51 PM 26-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Wisma Putra has castigated a Canadian newspaper for describing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a “false democrat”, along with other world leaders criticised for their authoritarian rule.
Foreign Ministry undersecretary Ahmad Rozian Abdul Ghani was replying to an article written by The Globe and Mail’s Mark MacKinnon, titled “A Roster Of The Modern Autocrats”, in which he lumped Najib (picture) in the same league as the world’s iron-fisted rulers, such as Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas, Algeria’s Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and closer to home, Cambodia’s Hun Sen.
“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,” Mackinnon wrote in the article published on June 8, describing “False Democrats”.
“They hold elections but have no intention of giving up power. Serious political rivals are jailed and their parties are outlawed on legal technicalities. Mr 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,” the Canadian paper’s Beijing bureau chief wrote in describing their shared key characteristic.
MacKinnon named toppled Egypt president Hosni Mubarak and Yugoslavia’s former president Slobodan Milosevic as former members.
But Wisma Putra was not amused and wrote in to refute the description.
“In just three years, Mr Razak has repealed Malaysia’s colonial-era Internal Security Act, ended the 60-year state of emergency, introduced measures to increase media freedom, reformed the Universities and University Colleges Act, created the Peaceful Assembly Act, announced a review of the Sedition Act, repealed the Banishment Act and the Restricted Residences Act and implemented a raft electoral reforms — an impressive track record by anyone’s standards,” Ahmad Rozian said in his letter, published on the Canadian paper’s website.
He said the author’s view did not “tally” with the opposition’s record win in Election 2008, and added that Malaysian voters will once again “be free to choose who they want to lead their country” in the national polls that must be called by next year.
“While the prime minister takes nothing for granted, he hopes he will be given a mandate to continue Malaysia’s transformation,” the diplomat added.
Najib’s administration has come under criticism globally in the aftermath of violent street demonstrations here over Bersih’s push to clean up the electoral roll ahead of the 13th general election.
Malaysia’s three main opposition parties, DAP, PAS and PKR, won an unprecedented five states and 83 seats out of a total 222 in Parliament in Election 2008, denying the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition their traditional two-thirds control in the lawmaking body for the first time since Independence in 1957.