Speaking Of Asia: Strains on Asia's democracies

From Thailand to Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka, political leaders show a fondness for overriding democratic institutions

It has been more than a month since the Malaysian Cabinet reportedly decided to evict the preacher Zakir Naik from the country for inflammatory rhetoric that has so upset sections of the multiracial nation's Chinese and Indian minorities.

Mr Naik, though, continues to roam freely around Malaysia. If people are scratching their heads as to why Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who in his earlier stint had forced the Al Arqam sect to be disbanded and its leader to weep on television, is so constrained on executing his Cabinet's decision, the answer probably was on show last weekend in Kuala Lumpur.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2019, with the headline 'Strains on Asia's democracies'. Print Edition | Subscribe