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COMMENT | Democracy must not function in a void - Malaysia be warned
COMMENT | Ghassan Salameh, a top scholar at Sciences Po in France, once wrote a book with the same title ‘Democracy In the Void’.

By void, he meant an electoral democracy where there are politicians lining up to offer themselves as prospective candidates but they are not true policymakers and intellectuals. Let alone leaders who can tell the story as it is, except with sheer spin. The latter should be chafed at.

Such a democracy, more precisely, electoral democracy, would have office bearers, popularly elected in due course but the wheels of justice and fairness, simply do not run. If anything, they might have come all undone.

Public intellectuals are not confined to those with strings of degrees and credentials. They can be fisherfolk, nannies, impoverished farmers and even foreign workers.

They are the ones who keep the economy chugging along but also the people who receive the brunt of a slowing economy - bearing the fullest weight on them.

Our democracy must not bemoan people who resign themselves from partisan politics. Rather, it should be alert and mindful to thinkers, past, present and future, who do not see themselves as part of the solution to the national and international discourse.

No democracy and rule of law can function to make the constitutional monarchy of Malaysia healthy and resilient unless there are bellwethers, indeed, warner, of the decrepit state that the country is in.

The book by M Kamal Hassan on the dejected state of Malay politics is one of them. Although his scholarship on the importance of understanding the concept of...

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