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Where Is The Tolerance For Democracy?

Southeast Asian countries are invariably confronted with political chaos. It is mainly due to an unsound system and lack of the tolerance of democracy. Thailand would be the best example.

Thai opposition party supporters occupied the Prime Minister's compound to force Samak Sundaravej to step down. After Somchai Wongsawat was elected by lawmakers as the new Prime Minister, protestors still refused to give way. The people will sooner or later react and the police will not turn a blind eye for long. Eventually, the protest may end up in bloodshed.

The political chaos in Thailand reminded me of the 2000 U.S Presidential Elections. At that time, Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. and George W. Bush were within range of clinching victory. Eventually, the U.S Supreme Court decided that Bush has won the election. Al Gore then conceded defeat to Bush.

"A person will act extremely if his thinking is not moderate."

If Al Gore did not give up and continued to fight, of course he would be supported by his followers. But it would eventually lead to a serious internal friction and split that would embroil the government's administration. This is the tolerance of Western democracy. Al Gore was unwilling to submit but for the country's sake, he allowed Bush to be the U.S President.

In the fight of democracy, anyone can adhere to the principle but it can be a peaceful protest, instead of making it too intense. As for the country and its people's interests, there can even be a compromise.

However, modern politics has become increasingly violent, such as frequent bombings in Pakistan and India and bloody demonstrations in Korea. Thus, the moderation spirit must be implanted into politics. A person will act extremely if his thinking is not moderate.

Looking back to Malaysia, we lack the tolerance for democracy. The political power struggle has not yet ended even more than half a year after the 8 March general elections. At this difficult time, those in power should not detain anyone under Internal Security Act.

Leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties should learn to be moderate and compromise. They should stop confronting each other and try to understand the people's problems, pooling resources to resolve the current economic crisis.

Otherwise, we are worried that the sentiment of both parties' supporters would be agitated and eventually, it would threaten the country's peace. Thailand is a lesson to us. (By LIM SUE GOAN/ Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE/ Sin Chew Daily)

MySinchew 2008.09.19


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