Benevolent Dictator the solution in Iraq, says Dr Mahathir
(Bernama) -- A benevolent dictator is the solution for maintaining stability in Iraq for the time being after democracy seems to have failed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday.
The former prime minister said such a leader could control the people from contributing to instability, which would slow down economic development.
"Maybe you have to have a strong hand to stop people from becoming violent. If you allow people to do what they think they like, the country will end in chaos. People will be fighting each other," he said.
Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after delivering a keynote address on "Political Stability and Sustainability as a Key Success Factor in Developing Malaysia" at the Perdana Discourse Series at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here.
He said the Iraqis did not understand what democracy was all about when they were asked to be democratic.
"As a result, they are worse under democracy than under benevolent dictatorship," he said, adding that more people were killed during the current democracy period compared to previously.
He said democracy was good but people need to learn how to make democracy work as there were some limitations because people just could not exercise their freedom completely without caring for other people.
In his keynote address, Dr Mahathir said the sharing and sacrifices made by all ethnic groups in Malaysia had contributed to the continued stability in the country.
The Malays, for example, have stopped calling this country "Tanah Melayu" (Land of the Malays) and sacrificed Jawi as their main written language so that others could read the Romanised alphabet, and share this country with the other races.
The other races, too, were willing to make sacrifices by understanding that not 100 per cent of their demands could be fulfilled, and sharing the economic cake of the country, he said.
The one-day Perdana Discourse Series was organised by the Perdana Leadership Foundation and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
I think that Dr Mahathir is wrong, wrong to assume that a benevolent dictator is the solution to instability and chaos. And Dr Mahathir is too quick to claim that democracy has failed in Iraq.
First of all, when has a dictator, benevolent or not, ever willingly stepped down from his position of power once he has assumed it? And most certainly not when peace and stability have been restored!
Another thing, when tried, when has democracy ever failed? I can't think of any country that has tasted democracy that would ever want to go back to a dictatorship. Can you? I do know, however, that there are some people ( in the former Soviet Union) who got used to their welfare being taken care of by the government, who longed to go back to that era .. not so much to the iron fisted rule of a communist government but more for the welfare that they had received under such governments.
The rule of law is needed to control disorder and chaos, not a strong hand. I totally disagree with Dr Mahathir's claim that more Iraqis have died under democray than under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. A man who has had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered would have no qualms about disposing anyone who is deemed a threat to his power. No one can know for sure the exact number of people killed under Saddam Hussein's 26 year rule but certainly in the hundreds of thousands. Mass graves are still being discovered even to this day. Ask any shia or Kurd in Iraq and they will tell you the horrors they endured under Saddam, and they are the ones lucky enough to be alive to tell you, unlike those that were less fortunate.