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Malaysia election

Malaysia proved that, divisive or not, democracy works

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 May, 2018, 3:38pm

It is startling that Peter Emerson uses Malaysia as an example of democracy “being divisive”, and treats that as a negative (“Democracy can be divisive, so does polarised Hong Kong need to recognise its limits?”, May 19). 

In the case of Malaysia, what was “divisive” was the theft on a grand scale of large sums of money from the country by people close to power, and democracy was the means whereby the balance was restored between ordinary people and the kleptocrats (“Malaysia’s corruption agency questions ex-PM Najib Razak about millions linked to 1MDB fund”, May 22). 

Freed Anwar Ibrahim symbolises Malaysia’s journey to true democracy

Democracy is not without its weaknesses, but Mr Emerson really needs to deal with the fact that democracies (including poor ones like India) have on average a GDP per capita five times that of dictatorships (if one excludes the Middle East dictatorships made rich through oil). 

His suggestion to adopt some form of proportional representation is sensible, and underpins the success of democracy in some of the richest countries – Denmark, for example.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels