Malaysiakini News

‘Democracy has different meanings in different countries’

Manik Mehta, Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Emphasising the different cultural and political idiosyncrasies of each member country of the United Nations, the speaker of the Malaysian parliament said democracy is a relative term and there is no clear definition about it.

“Consequently, democracy as understood in some countries should not be imposed on others with a different culture, religion and social background,” said Pandikar Amin Mulia, currently visiting New York with a 21-member delegation, including staff of parliament and the senate.

He was interviewed by Bernama yesterday at the Malaysian permanent mission in New York on the sidelines of a luncheon hosted for the delegation by the Malaysian deputy permanent representative, Reza Raja Zaib Shah.

Pandikar, who had also touched on the concept of democracy as a vehicle of peace and sustainable development while addressing the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliaments at the United Nations (UN) on Monday, said the theme, ‘Placing democracy at the service of peace and sustainable development: Building the world the people want’, was also relative.

However, he said, the UN offered a good platform to voice Malaysia’s views on the subject.

In Pandikar’s view, some countries in the world were better off left alone to govern their people in a non-Western democratic way of administration.

While in New York, Pandikar also held meetings with parliament speakers from Hungary, Iran and Vietnam.

He is also meeting the president of the Canadian senate.

President of the Malaysian Senate, Abu Zahar Ujang, who was also in the Malaysian delegation, addressed the UN gathering yesterday, highlighting the need to reform the UN.

He also urged a change to the outdated system of the concentration of powers in the Security Council whose permanent five members (China, France, Russia, UK and USA) hold veto powers.

“I appealed to the five major countries with veto powers in the Security Council to execute their important powers very judiciously, humanly, and fair, taking into serious consideration the welfare of global community’s peace and harmony.

“The basic principles of democracy, the voices of majority, should be respected and preserved,” Abu Zahar told Bernama .

- Bernama

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