Friday, June 5, 2009

We Need Benevolent Dictator Not Democracy

Hantu Laut

It is a prosperous, clean and functional city, with imposing skyscrapers and state of the art shopping complexes. You can buy any brand name you've ever heard of. The roads are crowded with Mercs, BMWs and whatever brand you fancy. The highways are lined with tropical flowers and a public transportation system unmatched elsewhere.

This tiny red dot at the southern tip of Peninsula Malaysia is one of the most prosperous nations in the world with per capita income higher than the United States and many other Western nations.The IMF lists Singapore at No. 4 with PPP of US$51,142 in 2008.

Once upon a time at the head of this thriving free-market city state is a clever, benevolent, fatherly and no nonsense socialist dictator

This is Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.A tiny island nation without any natural resources that have not stopped to amaze the world.Singapore had come a long way to what it is today by the way of, not pure democracy, but 'enlightened absolutism'.The sheer determination and perseverance of one man, the founding father of modern Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew or Harry Lee as he is popularly known among his close friends.

From a tiny mosquito infested tropical island to a sprawling metropolis, the economic and developmental vibrancy have not slowed down.This is a government with a bit of everything, a mixture of democracy, socialism and feudalism and an enviable success story.

In his memoirs 'The Singapore Story" Lee admitted he look upon Switzerland as his model.To defy logic, if such is illogical, today, Singapore had overtaken Switzerland in its PPP (Purchasing Power Parity).

Lee Kuan Yew has interfered with every aspect of Singaporean life, from not allowing long hair for male person during the flower power era, to limit only 2 babies per family, to banning chewing gum and mandatory canning for vandals. These are just a few of Lee's decree of what best for Singapore which some defender of democracy would call infringement of human rights.

Lee is an advocate of corporal punishment.In his memoirs he mentioned that during his time at Raffles Institution in the 1930s that he was caned there for chronic lateness by the then headmaster, D.W. McLeod. He wrote: "I bent over a chair and was given three of the best with my trousers on. I did not think he lightened his strokes. I have never understood why Western educationists are so much against corporal punishment. It did my fellow students and me no harm".

The world have seen good and bad dictators.Bad dictators are mostly self-serving,cruel and more often than not would run down the nation to the ground through massive corruptions and unconscionable abuses of power.Good and benevolent dictator is passionate about his country and the people but believe democracy is a hindrance to progress.

Some examples of good dictators are Napolean Bonaparte of France, Antonio Salazar of Portugal,Mustapha Kemal Ataturk of Turkey, Fidel
Castro of Cuba, Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan and of course not forgetting Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia.

What is the yardstick for determining a benevolent dictator? It's a very simple equation. A continuous economic growth and economic development for the benefits of the people and not just for the dictator, his families or cronies.These are the characteristic of a benevolent dictator.A deep passion not to do for himself but to do for the nation.

Some may argue that Musharraf or even Mahathir should not be in this category.

Let start with Musharraf first.

In 1999 under Nawaz Sharif Pakistan was a bankrupt country, almost 65% of its revenue had to be utilized for debt servicing leaving very little for development expenditure.Public and external debt exceeded 300% of foreign exchange earnings.The country was in deep financial trouble.During Musharraf time from 1999 to 2007 Pakistan went through unprecedented economic growth as shown below:

Pakistan’s economy grew by 100%
Per Capita Income grew by 100%
Foreign Reserves grew by 500%
Exports grew by 100%

The list is not exhaustive.Under Musharraf's watch Transparency International's corruption index improved tremendously, falling from 11th to 41st position.

If anything that can go wrong will go wrong, an adage known as Murphy's Law.When Mushraff suspended Chief Justice Mohammad Ali Chaudhry for corruptions and abuses of judicial power the law fraternity took to the streets in massive numbers in protest of the suspension.In less than two months political parties joined in the fray and took to the streets demanding Musharraf to step down. In August 2008 the Pakistan People Party and Pakistan Muslim League led by Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif agreed to force Musharraf to step down and begin impeachment proceeding against him.It is speculated that Pervez Musharraf would have had to face corruption and even murder charges if he had kept refusing a graceful exit from the president house.

On Monday, 18 August 2008, in a speech defending his record, Musharraf announced that he had resigned.While announcing his resignation Musharraf said "After viewing the situation and consulting legal advisers and political allies, with their advice I have decided to resign. I leave my future in the hands of the people. Not a single charge in the impeachment can stand against me. No charge can be proved against me because I never did anything for myself, it was all for Pakistan. On the map of the world, Pakistan is now an important country, by the grace of Allah. Whether I win or lose the impeachment, the nation will lose. They don’t realize they can succeed against me but the country will undergo irreparable damage."

"Nonetheless, despite those mistakes, he has been that rare phenomenon in Pakistani politics — an honest man with good intentions who tried to serve his country to the best of his abilities. In a country that has suffered so much over the years from corrupt and self-serving politicians, there have been too few figures like him" ____an extract from Arab News, a leading Middle East English language daily.

As I have said in my earlier posts the Pakistani people have thrown out a good man and brought back not one but two known crooks to rule their country.These are crooks voted in by the masses under a Western-styled democratic system.What Pakistan need is 'enlightened absolutism' not pure unadulterated democracy.Musharraf was right when he said it is Pakistan that will suffer.The country is now in the early stage of anarchy and on the road to being a failed state.

Mahathir Mohammad ! Do I need to refresh everything he has done for Malaysia.No, I don't need to.He has left his footprints everywhere in the country.The physical presence of his untiring efforts to make this nation a great nation and the legacy he left behind is visible for all of us to see.He has a passion for the country and the people to excel. Anwar Ibrahim has a passion to be prime minister whatever it takes.

Will Malaysians make the same mistake the Pakistani people have made.Vote for those who are good at organising protests, demonstrations and candlelight vigil to bring down a legitimate government.Those who are good at sweet talking, fabricating wall of lies and inculcate materials of discontent to create political instability to show the rest of the world how rotten this government is.

Give me enlightened absolutism or benevolent dictator anytime rather than a rotten democratic system and rotten politicians than cause instability and political upheavel.

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water just because you heard the thunder.


vinnan said...

LKY did not fucked it up like what UMNO did.

Anonymous said...

The right answer should be we let Harry Lee run Malaysia.

Whats so good about our idiot Mamaktir? What has Mamaktir and UMNO done with our country compared with what Harry Lee achieved.

donplaypuks® said...

It's a little facile to project from Mahathir and Harry Lee to the generalisation that we need a benevolent dictator.

For every 1 'benevolent dictator' the history and the world has seen 9 real blood and gore killers like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Bokassa et al because there is a very thin line that separates the two types of dictators!

It is all a matter of probability and chance and the world cannot afford to gamble on which way the dictator will lean. That's why most will still plunk for democratically elected governments. And it's the personalities, not the system that is the cause of failure. After all, [akistan failed under Bhutto and Zia.

Would you migrate to Russia, China, Iran, Dafur or Somalia?

And anyway, who is "WE"? How have you established that you have consensus among 26 million people?

Hantu Laut said...

What have idiot like you done for this country?Ask yourself first.

Hantu Laut said...

Splitting hairs.It's just a title.You know it.Never said the whole country wanted it.

It's not facile,history had proven that some benevolent dictator can do better job than those who are too liberal.It's not a thin line that separates them,they are totally different, that's why the word benevolent is used.

Please don't get confuse between the two.

Anonymous said...


I dont ask what I can do becoz I am not PM of Malaysia. If an idiot like Mamktir aspires to be or indeed was PM of our country, the standard he has to be held has to be higher than me isnt it , a common citizen!!

You mean in your simple mind, idiot Mamktir and me is held to the same standard kah?

Idiot Mamaktir should be held to Harry Lee's standard and like Harry said, Singapore is a damning indictment of Malaysia and idiot Mamaktir's failures!!!

eddy said...

Bro, Singapore is just another city state which is successful just like any other city states like Monaco,Vatican city, Hong Kong or Macau. Old man Lee was definitely good for Singapore's political stability and roaring economy and a benevolent Dictator he still is, by virtue of being appointed Minister Mentor. However what he did for Singapore he can never do for Malaysia simply because of demography, Singapore is almost 90% Chinese while Malaysia is 65% Malay/Bumiputras,25% Chinese and 10% Indians it will take a different kind of politician to run a very multiethnic and multireligious Malaysia and definitely old man Lee will not succeed even if he had the chance, his stint as PAP MP in the Malaysian Parliament before 1967 when Singapore was kicked out showed that his brand of chauvinist politics is not suitable for a multiracial Malaysia during that time or even this time.

Under the circumstances I believed Dr Mahathir has done a great job of pulling out a kicking and screaming Malaysia from an agri based economy to a more industrial based economy necessary to face the challenges for the future. Yes he did it his way by being a benevolent dictator himself but I think it was necessary to have a stable political environment before economic growth could be steadily achieved.

Definitely we cannot have political stability and economic growth if we have politicians and their supporters who lights up candles at vigils, go demonstrating in the streets, lay on the streets to protest or who resort to mogok lapar, disparage the police,AG and the judiciary and even slander the sitting Prime Minister just to score political points and create instability in the name of democracy.

I think history will be the final judge of how good or bad Dr Mahathir, Lee Kuan Yew or even Musharraf were, when they had the chance to run their respective countries on how they deemed it fit to be run. And yes give me a benevolent dictator any day to run Malaysia, I am all for it. Too much democracy sucks.

me said...

How do you ensure that the dictator we get is benevolent or enlightened?

There is no way, and to hope that a dictator is as we wish him/her to be is merely a gamble.

That's why I prefer democracy. It's less of a gamble, since it brings along with it check and balances.

Finally, of course, "benevolence" is a highly subjective term.

The supporters of the Taliban didn't see economic growth as "benevolence".

Sure, using your definition, Pervez was benevolent, and YOU felt that he brought "benefits" to the people.

BUt what are "benefits"? Again, it is subjective. Considering that he was defeated by the electorate, doesn't that show that while you think he "benefitted" the people, a large number of people disagree with your definition of what constitutes "benefits" and thus did not support Musharraf?

A dictatorship is fundamentally putting all our eggs in one basket. If the all-powerful leader screws up, we sink with him/her. Democracy distributes power, ensuringmistakes at the top does not necessarily mean the failure ripples through the entire fabric of the nation.

Remember, Napoleon's decision to enter Russia forever destroyed France's preeminence. The decision of ONE man brought this about. But even George W. Bush's monumental blunders couldn't bring a democracy with power distribution down.

My final analogy is the use of redundant devices in aircrafts. This means if one device fails, there is another working one capable of executing the same functions as the failed device, allowing a second chance for the aircraft.

A dictatorship is like having only one device with no redundancy. One failure spells doom.

As a scientist, I will not allow several exceptions of dictators to be used as a general case. It's just not an empirical solution


me said...


You said,

"Definitely we cannot have political stability and economic growth if we have politicians and their supporters who lights up candles at vigils, go demonstrating in the streets, lay on the streets to protest or who resort to mogok lapar, disparage the police,AG and the judiciary and even slander the sitting Prime Minister just to score political points and create instability in the name of democracy."

I beg to differ.

Protests are allowed in nations with disparate demographics such as Switzerland and Belgium. They have not crashed and burn.

The constant equation of political instability and prosperity is fallacious.

It is even less accurate, in my opinion, to think that candlelight vigils constitutes instability in the first place.

Those who wish for a benevolent dictatorship are only happy to have one if the "benevolence" is directed at them.

What if a benevolent dictator does rise, but he is benevolent in the eyes of PKR supporters instead?

Believe you me, you'll be none too happy and say that Anwar is not benevolent at all, but then again, who has a monopoly on the definition of benevolent?

So to resolve the whole debate, let's measure how many people think each side is "benevolent", and let's call this measurement system an "election".

Then, we can come up with a name for this system. Let's call it "democracy".


Anonymous said...

Were you encouraged by the PAP to write this , so similar to their publicity stuff

Anonymous said...

A little late said, but the flaw of democracy is an even vote for every person. By that average you'll settle everyone's wants fairly, but you'll hinder economic growth because less than most people look at the bigger picture and vote for their needs over that of their country. We can not rely on a beneficial outcome when most of the voters only consider themselves. The disadvantage of a leader who only aims to fairly advance the country is that we are considering a best-case scenario. On the very same average most people only care about themselves, thus a benevolent dictator is extremely hard to come by. With that said dictatorship wins, but given an ideal world where there is some best-case candidate then of course that dictatorship is better. Considering the rarity of real (by everyone's view) benevolence, dictatorship is the right way to go. Ask me on my preference however, and I'd have to go with the best-case scenario.