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Democracy is facing an uphill battle

What is happening to democracies across the world?

Should officials quit when accused of wrongdoing?

Democracy is facing an age of change where officials are bending the rules to ignore democratic principles and ethics. WIll this keep democracy intact?

For us, living in democratic societies, whether it is a full-blown democracy or one with adaptations, wrongdoing among elected officials should not be tolerated.

But for sometime now, in countries like Malaysia or Mauritius, elected officials are holding to their posts in desperation.

Ministers, MPs and others accused and even convicted of crimes are still serving the public while their cases go through a lengthy appeal process.

What does that make of the democratic system?

FLOUTING DEMOCRACY?

In Malaysia, fallen and disgraced ex-PM Najib Razak is still an MP after he was found guilty on all seven charges in the High Court in Malaysia.

He is fighting to clear his name and clean his image, he says to his supporters while his party the government in which he is an MP welcomes his continued role a member of the Parliament.

Further in Mauritius, the Minister of Environment, Kavi Ramano is not quitting his post after an oil spill in the coast of the tiny Indian Ocean Island.

Critics in Port Louis are saying Ramano should have resigned by now, and that he should have taken responsibility for the failure to prevent the oil spill.

The spill made the headlines across the globe with several newspapers carrying the news from Reuters.

The MV Wakashio ran aground on a coral reef off the Indian Ocean island on 25 July.

the large bulk carrier has since begun leaking tons of fuel into the surrounding waters.

PM Pravind Jugnauth, who is facing a series of blunders since he came to power, declared a state of emergency yesterday.

It is a massive environmental disaster not only for Mauritius but for most countries in the world which has made fighting ecological problems and climate change a priority.

Should the minister resign over the mishandling of the incident? Those who want him to quit cites dignity as a minister and the integrity of the person of the minister as reasons for him to quit.

Yet, we have seen so many cases now in Malaysia, Mauritius and in parts of the Western world that we are now facing a big question: Are we living in real democracies or has democracy adapted to a lack of integrity and dignity from the Members of Parliament?

NOTHING JUSTIFIES ANYONE QUITTING?

From America, to Mauritius and Malaysia, it appears that nothing now justifies the MPs or elected leaders to quit if they are guilty or accused.

If they are accused, they now sit in the office and wait until investigations are over.

Whether the investigations are manipulated or not, no one can really tell because the accused is still a powerful public representative who may or may not interfere in the investigations.

In the U.S. the Congress impeached President Donald Trump. But the American system is clear cut. The Senate reversed the vote and gave the President a chance to continue leading the country.

Whether this will impact his chances of winning the next Presidential elections is not a certainty.

America is changing, democracy in America is also changing with it.

America itself and the Americans are going through a tough time. They are faced with choices they did not think were possible a decade or less ago.

The country is in a form of turmoil that has brought some hidden truth about the failures of the democratic system to the surface.

The public is still digesting this change and the presence of Trump as a different President from what America has seen before.

TOLERANCE OR IGNORANCE?

In some countries, they will call the refusal of the officials to quit as ‘tolerance’ but in some countries it is called ‘ignorance’.

Malaysia has seen its fair share of officials refusing to quit while investigations are ongoing.

The Pakatan Harapan government which gave hope to the people that things will change in Malaysia violated its own principles.

A powerful minister was accused of gay sex, a crime in Malaysia, but he refused to quit. He is today one of the most powerful men in the cabinet.

Whether it is tolerance, or ignorance, the fact is democracy is under pressure and it is being forced to adapt to the needs of the ruling class.

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