Life term not necessary
Malaysia must punish corrupt people but the problem has not reached such a stage that the corrupt should be sentenced to life in prison, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“They (corrupt individuals) might be jailed. How long they need to be jailed depends on the extent of the corruption, and I think different levels of corruption need different punishments,” he said at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies in London yesterday.
“But we have not reached the stage of having to sentence people for life,” he added.
Dr Mahathir made the remark in response to a question on whether he supported the death penalty for corrupt leaders after he had delivered a lecture on “The Challenge of Good Governance in the Muslim World”.
In his lecture, Dr Mahathir said Muslim countries adopting the democratic system needed to spend more time trying to understand the workings of democracy.
“If you don't understand that in a democracy the vote is powerful, then you cannot have a democratic system,” he said, adding that such Muslim countries were much more comfortable with a monarchy.
In some Muslim countries, the transition to the democratic system was disastrous, he said.
“Every time they try a democratic system, there will be fighting among themselves and the countries can be almost destroyed,” he said.
In a democratic system, he said, people chose the government and supported the government for a period of time.
However, in some Muslim countries, people could not wait for the term to end and wanted to change immediately after the election, he said.
“(It's) time for them to respect the vote and set up a government that uses power for the betterment of the country and people,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the democratic system somehow worked in Malaysia because while the people were loyal to their royal rulers, they also wanted a democratic system.
“We (in Malaysia) don't like violence. We don't overthrow a government. The government changes by itself,” he said, drawing laughter from the floor.
Previously, in 1996, on his maiden visit to the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Dr Mahathir delivered the memorable lecture entitled “Islam, the Misunderstood Religion”.
The centre, since its founding in 1985, has invited many leading figures to speak on matters related to the Islamic world.
At its new premises, the centre has a number of dedicated lecture spaces, including the Malaysia auditorium, to allow for further development of its programmes.
Copyright: The Star Online/ Asia News Network