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Many not educated on democracy, says political scientist

 | November 19, 2017

Andrew Aeria says many communities do not understand the benefits of democracy or their own role in such a system.

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PETALING JAYA: An independent political scientist has lamented that the country’s education system has failed to generate necessary awareness about the benefits of democracy, and the role people can play in such a system.

Andrew Aeria said there was tremendous ignorance about democracy and the function of Parliament among some communities, particularly in certain parts of the country.

“If you tell them, especially the Orang Asli, about Parliament, they will ask: what is Parliament?” he said at the Malaysia Freedom Summit here yesterday.

Aeria said as an educator, he blamed the education system for being a central factor in making the understanding of democracy obscure.

He said when he was lecturing on political science at a university, his application to go on sabbatical was rejected because he was teaching about democracy and social movements.

He alleged the university turned down his request fearing he would speak ill of the country when he went abroad.

Aeria added that he had received complaints from within his faculty and from outside circles that he supported the opposition, which he refuted.

“This is the state of our political thinking in the country,” he said.

“This is also the impoverished state of our education at university level, where we are governed by people who are unable to appreciate what democracy is about.”

Aeria questioned how people in rural areas could understand the concept of democracy or what role they played in a democratic system if even those at the top level of academia could not appreciate the idea.

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