There are arguably two schools of thought on political violence. It could be argue, therefore, that political violence should not occur in a genuine democracy and otherwise.
Undeniably, most countries in the world deliberately tend to claim that they are democratic, but the reality is yet to be known. Practically, political violence seems to be one of the best barometers to measure the degree of democracy of the country.
The drastic increase of political violence worldwide, however shows that political violence and the modern nation-states which claimed that they are democratic, are inseparable. Claiming to champion the people's rights by transformation, Malaysia is, therefore emerging as one of the best democratic nations but is facing more political violence.
Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that our multiracial social fabric can be torn apart by the culture of violence.
Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said, political violence should not happen in a genuine democracy and the authorities must take stern action to curb such incidents, amid more reports of violent clashes between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters ahead of elections expected next year.
He hoped BN would reform and stop the culture of violence if it won the next polls and if PR were to take power, he hoped PR would not become “political thugs”.
“Political violence does not happen in a democratic country. In a democratic country the election of a government does not see matters that endanger security,” said Musa.
“Previous general elections were like festivals (but) in Malaysia the politics has been endless. Five years on and there is still politics and the endless blaming of each other.”
Accused political leaders of failing to control supporters, he blamed for the rise in the political temperature in recent years. Election campaigns were no longer like festivals because it was now dominated by “politics of hatred.”
He said, the authorities must act to curb political violence, but the job had become more challenging because of new laws which had introduced more freedoms.