08 February 2011

Street Demonstrations and Democracies

Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak warned against any attempt to usurp power in Malaysia, using demonstrations such as those in Egypt to oust president Hosni Mubarak.

"Don't think that what is happening there must also happen in Malaysia.  We will not allow it to happen here," he reportedly said.

When hundreds of thousands of ordinary individuals overcome their fear of repression and seemingly insurmountable odds to unite behind what they believe to be a just cause, how does their government stop them, other than with more brutal suppression?

The flip side of the coin is this — a political leadership that is legitimately elected by its people in free and fair elections does not fear street demonstrations seeking to overthrow it, because if it doesn't perform or it is not responsive to the needs of its people, it will be removed quickly via the ballot box.

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