Najib Says "Ijok Proves Democracy Still Thriving." Is This True?
He based his conclusion on his assessment of what is a free campaign when he said that "in the by-election, the opposition had the widest opportunity (to campaign)!" But did they?
Moreover allegations have been made by several opposition leaders, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, that the by-election was undemocratic as numerous government machinery including the police had been deployed during the by-election.
Najib said that to ensure peace and public order during the campaigning and polling day, 1,200 police personnel had been deployed in Ijok. He said the regulation requiring the opposition as well as the ruling party to obtain permits to hold ceramahs during the campaign also proved that democracy was still very much alive in the country. "This is the law, if we don't respect the law, action will be taken by the police," he added.
I appreciate that the law must be respected and proper procedures followed. I also understand that free and fair elections in a 'thriving democracy' must necessarily allow for equal access to the mainstream media including and especially those controlled by the government and not just hogged by the ruling party alone. There must be reasonable airtime given to the opposition as is the practice in advanced democracies.
Having read about the goings on in Ijok recently, the claims of phantom voters and missing ballot papers as well as the tame, servile stance taken by the Election Commission, I find it very difficult to figure out why the completion of the Ijok by-election should in any way reflect the thriving nature of democracy in Malaysia. There seems to be a disconnect in the logic which arrived at that conclusion. Be that as it may, more importantly do a majority of the people concur with the opinion expressed by the DPM? Do you agree with him?
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