Confronting Authoritarianism

Issue Date April 2019
Volume 30
Issue 2
Page Numbers 5-14
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Today we witness not only that history has not ended, but that there has been a revival of authoritarianism. Moreover, all too often authoritarianism has adopted the trappings of democracy. We are caught in the grip of a self-generated fear of the other, leading us to question the motives, intentions, and aspirations of people deemed to be different. In Malaysia in 2018, however, people from all communities, cultures, and faiths decisively voted out a regime that had ruled the nation for more than six decades and voted into power Pakatan Harapan-the Alliance of Hope. The institutional reforms that have been set in motion are primed to take Malaysia on a new path toward greater constitutional democracy. Confronting authoritarianism entails many elements, including judicial independence; creating a system that overcomes the harmful manifestations of capitalism; ensuring greater protection for political freedoms and the dynamic exchange of views; and the further empowerment of women and the adoption of a proactive social-justice agenda. Above all, good governance must remain the touchstone.

About the Author

Anwar Ibrahim, a member of the Parliament of Malaysia, heads the People’s Justice Party and the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition. A former finance minister and deputy prime minister, he led the Reformasi opposition movement in 1998 and later spent ten years in incarceration as a political prisoner. After his party won the May 2018 election, he received a full pardon for all the crimes alleged against him. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University and SAIS in Washington and at St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

View all work by Anwar Ibrahim


Image Credit: National Endowment for Democracy