Mahathirís speech at UNCTAD X in Bangkok yesterday is the latest example. In his speech, Mahathir called on international institutions, whether the United Nations, International Monetary Fund or the World Bank, to introduce a more transparent decision-making process that reflects not just the views of big business and big governments but those of the threatened small business and small governments as well as NGOs.
Referring to the NGO demonstrations at Seattle WTO Conference,
Mahathir said: "It is time that the relevant NGOs be given a proper forum
to air their views.
Street demonstrations can serve as a wake-up call but their usefulness is quite limited."
Mahathirís views are fully endorsed by Malaysians, except that the Prime Minister should be practising inside the country what he is preaching in international conferences.
For the sake of Mahathirís own credibility, whether in developed or developing nations, he should give top priority to implement his call to UNCTAD X by introducing a more consultative national decision-making process and to allow Malaysians the right to peaceful assembly and demonstrations.
The Police, political parties and NGOs should hold a roundtable conference to discuss and draw up a guideline to allow Malaysians the right to peaceful assemblies and demonstrations so that when Mahathir praised the NGO demonstrations at the Seattle WTO Conference as giving the international community a "wake-up call", he would not be dismissed as being inconsistent or even hypocritical for saying one thing in international forums while doing the exact opposite in his own country.