India too democratic, says former Malaysian PM

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by RPK, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    India too democratic, says former Malaysian PM


    Kuala Lumpur: Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has singled out India as an Asian country that has "made the mistake of being too democratic" and compared it unfavourably with China's authoritarian regime.

    Mahathir said, "India, of course, will grow, but more slowly than China. It has the numbers but is not making use of them well."

    He identified China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and, "to a lesser extent", India as the countries which would lead the Asian charge, New Straits Times said Tuesday.

    Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for over two decades, told a seminar on Asia and 21st century that people "do not understand the limits of democracy".

    "Democracy can be a hindrance to progress because you spend so much time politicking that you don't have time to develop your country.


    "In China, there's not much politics. So, they can spend more time developing their country."

    He blamed the West for making democracy and freedom the cornerstone of progress.

    It is the West's focus on democracy, civil rights and individual liberties - attributes flaunted by Western governments - that Mahathir identified as being the reason behind "its economic flaccidity".

    "The British believe a lot in so-called freedom. Their workers must be allowed to go on strike all the time. So, they have the problem of being a very unproductive population.

    "They must be free of everything. When you do that, productivity will drop. When productivity drops, you cannot compete."

    Talking about Asia, Mahathir ruled out a role for "strife-torn" West Asia.

    "They are not going to make much progress, unfortunately. They are not going to contribute to the Asia of the 21st century. But it doesn't matter because Asia is such a big place," Mahathir said.

    East Asia's emerging economic dominance over the West is due to its productivity and strong work ethic, he said.

    However, the former premier warned of the increasing trend among young Asians to ape Western culture.

    "Today, there are places in Tokyo where you see young people with multi-coloured hair. They look like Red Indians. These are the young Japanese who have adopted Western values," said the octogenarian who continues to draw crowds six years after he quit office.

    "They want to be free and be able to change the place they work, hop from one place to another and take marijuana. This is what the Europeans do. This is progress for those young people."
     
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  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Obviously Mr Mahatir doesnt know what its like to live under oppression as he was the one oppressing everyone. He and his family didnt suffer because of it so he can say that. What about those who did suffer?

    Yes China is growing fast, but what about those who have lost everything they had as it was taken away by the regime and they were not even allowed to question?

    Even with all the problems that Mr Mahatir is talking about, India is the second fastest growing major economy. So that smacks in his face. In fact Malaysia is down on the list of GDP growth at 94 with a growth of 4.5% and its not even classified as a country in the 20 major economies. So much for all his talks.
     
  4. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    India is too democratic,and just as swell,but the problem with 'countries too authoritarian' is that when shit hits the fan,democratic countries have a natural fall back political mechanisms to absorb shocks of any kind,but totalitarian states end up with mobs,tanks, bloody streets and fractured societies.......The Berlin wall,red squares,Tienanmen squares,phnom penh's etc.....all stand testimony to the falsehood called "too much democracy"

    Lets have more of real democracy
     
  5. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    India's development is for its people. And it must be so for all countries, development of a country means that the people of that country must be able to live in better standards.

    This concept is not grasped by authoritarian regimes that use people as tools to accumulate wealth and power to showoff.

    Country is not economy, Govt, party.....etc. Country means people. IF this much is understood then every country will be democratic in nature.
     
  6. ppgj

    ppgj Senior Member Senior Member

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    daredevil has been posting some very insightful articles relating to the side effects of the chinese growth. may be he needs to take mahatir on an excursion tour of the places suffering those side effects in china.:wink:
     
  7. Anil Sankar

    Anil Sankar Regular Member

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  8. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Every 2-pence tyrant seems to have a fan following, it seems and Mr. Mahathir Muhammad is no different !!! Tell that to the scores people who suffered under his authoritarian regime about democracy being useless, and they will shove a truck up his **s ! :thumbs_thmbdn:
     
  9. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    going against the grain here but just my 0.02!

    India does have a history of people misusing democratic freedoms for personal gains and causing distress to many , financial loss to the state in the bargain, take the frequent strikes in Bengal causing financial duress to the state, the Narmada case where nearly 3500crores has been lost to the country due to lost productivity and escalation in costs while the dam was in the court, the misuse of democratic powers by the MNS and many others even Netaji Subash Chandra Bose once said that India needed a balance between authoritarianism and democratic freedoms i do not think he was wrong.

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v14/v14_Montgomery.html
     
  10. Energon

    Energon DFI stars Stars and Ambassadors

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    My take on this long standing argument...

    Actually before any further arguments take place, lets first establish a few facts:
    1. China's economic and industrial success is a league above India's, and there is hardly any parity on that front.
    2. The East Asian Tigers did actually achieve a lot in terms of industrial and economic competence, but their societal and political problems eventually caught up to them.
    3. India's ability to transform itself from a downtrodden colonized country into a secular democracy is an achievement unlike any other in the developing world (especially in terms of scale). This is truly a fantastic achievement which many people take for granted.
    4. Mahahtir talks a lot of $hit

    In terms of India's failures:
    While India's democracy always seems to be stuck in a cacophonous paralysis, the underlying problem has more to do with ineffective administration, particularly in the public sector and the governmental bureaucracy than democracy itself. I would actually go so far as to say that Indian's haven't realized the true benefits of democracy yet. Either way, the lethal cocktail of ineffective administration and poor policy has led to the stagnation and perhaps even suppression of its masses eliciting a lot of it's negatives while stifling most of the positives.
    The root of India's problems isn't philosophical (democracy vs autocracy), it's corporeal; it is the inability to actually see an idea through and implement it appropriately that results in failure, not the political system that is used to derive ideas. This shortcoming is primarily on account of organizational incompetence (by both, the government and the citizenry), which unfortunately has been an issue throughout parts of Indian history. For instance, India has a secular socialist democracy but has as yet to achieve a cultural revolution, it has industry and a tech hungry population but has continually dodged an industrial revolution, it has the world's largest (and the most fascinating) electoral process but has yet to achieve a political revolution (the government class of today primarily represent a noxious mix of feudalism and colonialism).

    China's main reason for success has been her ability to proactively set and meet objectives. The ability to forecast, ponder over and implement plans which are then seen through. This ranges from reforming its financial system to industrial pursuits to foreign policy. While the lack of democracy may expedite such a process, it is the executive competence that has yielded positive results. This is an organizational virtue, not a political one. The other major factor at play here is that through its production based economy China has managed to kick off an industrial revolution. The reason India will never truly compete with China or the West is because its leaders do not envisage an industrial revolution and are instead aiming to leapfrog to an information revolution. While the latter is possible, the absence of the industrial revolution will always weigh India down.

    Also, despite the autocracy, China is doing a much better job in cultivating its human capital. Here again we see the relative lack of importance of the political system in certain cases. It is ironic that the "communists" are forcing liberalization upon their people while the secular democracy is struggling to move away from its obstinate hierarchical past.

    Now having said all of this, I must admit that I prefer democracy to authoritarianism any day, primarily because of the point SATA has raised. Democratic societies by default tend to develop far better self corrective mechanism compared to authoritarian regimes during cataclysmic crises. And this is something no developing nation should pass up on.
     
  11. IBM

    IBM Regular Member

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  12. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    IMO India's democracy is not as much a problem as is India's bureaucracy. Its the bureaucracy that is sapping India's development. Give power to the people all the way down to local panchayats and give them the budgets directly for their local area developments and see what happens.

    The democratic process keeps improving every election. The use of electronic voting machines, delaration of assets and police records by candidates, cap on donations to politcal parties e.t.c all go a long way in improving this. RTI is another positive development. ITs a slower process but its definitely more stable and progressive in the long term especially for such a diverse society like India.
     
  13. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    The problem is not that India is a democracy the problem is with the way India's democracy operates .the genesis of this problem lies in the fact that ever since the original crop of leaders after independence died , there has been little in the way of a truly pan-Indian neta, leading to regional politics and satraps. India needs to tighten up it's democracy and toughen the norms on which politics in India can be done., some crucial failures of Indian democracy below

    1)Even after the assassination of Rajiv gandhi the Tamil regional parties continued to support the LTTE some covertly and some overtly . The sad politics of India mad e it nearly impossible for the law enforcement agencies to bring any harm to these parties.

    2)The earlier& current pogroms by the shiv Sena and the MNS, while india's democracy is held hostage to political power materialised through goondaism.

    3)The freedom to the kashmiri separatists to spread their agenda of hate due to bad politics.
     
  14. VayuSena1

    VayuSena1 Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    I very strongly agree with Mr. Mahatir. India is just too democratic for her own good. Because of trying to be politically correct everytime, we tend to lose more than gain little. That too just for the sake of appeasing America and some other countries that don't really remain democratic once the aspect of national security comes into their line of sight.

    I don't think that our government is doing this because its 'too naive'. Its simply unchecked corruption. Because our democracy is a mockery than a proper democracy. Why? because Indian public doesn't challenge their leaders, ask them questions or threaten them straight. Therefore democracy in our country is more of a glorified mob-rule.
     
  15. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Judicial and police reform. A lot of our major problems will be sorted out if we can somehow manage to send crooks to jail quicky and effectively.
     
  16. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    ^^more important than that is electoral reforms. Its the politicians who like the status quo, they like to use police as their personal property when they are in power and associate with anti-social elements when they are out of power. The power must be given to people to decide the fate of the govt effectively.

    India's answer is demcracy, but true democracy. Not the type we have today, where most of the time the common folk do not have much choice. They are forced to choose between the better of the two known criminals or mafias in election to represent their constituency.
     
  17. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    more than any thing mahatir comes across stifled with the way the democracy has been pushed in mid east. right from the iraq’s of the world to a’stan’s, democracy has been pushed, a fact hard to digest for most people and there has been a quite resistance to that in malaysia.

    if he was to look around and spot the only left out super power of this world, quite amazingly that would point to a country which again happens to be too much of a democracy.

    how ironic can the things get, even with an extremely slow progress that he sees happening in india, the country was still able to clock over 9% growth rate figures in the recent past, and yet again when the world economy seems like down and out, the same too democratic country did a near 8% growth in the last quarter which is only expected to shoot upwards.

    i guess in the end for some it is only economic growth with no regards to human life and values that matters. well may be we give too much stress on that, but surprisingly even after having done that we tend to do good economically, may be there are not many success stories like india to pick from in the present day world, but that does not mean we cant set a precedence for others, as a matter of fact we very well are.

    may be if mahatir was to live for another decade, he would have a different perspective, may be not on democracy but surely on a country called india.
     
  18. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    What electoral reforms do you propose? Can you be more specific? I suggested judicial reforms because they are possible to implement without trying to change the system entirely, and frankly any ideas that suggest radical changes are impractical because they cannot be achieved without a lot of turmoil and violence.
     

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