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Mahathir's legacy

Sir, — I refer to your editorial, "Mahathir's impressive legacy" ( Nov. 3 ). I am impressed with Mahathir Mohamad's achievement of turning a country devastated by colonialism into a booming economy. Though Malaysia is a `managed democracy,' people there enjoy many more liberties than they do in the Arab countries.

Mohamad Junaid,
Aligarh

Sir, — While it is true that Dr. Mahathir was instrumental in guiding Malaysia into becoming one of the biggest economies in Asia, is this kind of development sustainable without a true democratic set-up? An authoritarian system will work as long as the ruler is committed. It takes just one inefficient ruler to destroy a whole economy. One must bear in mind that democracy provides checks whereby power abuse is avoided.

Philip Kurian Eranat,
Nagpur

Sir, — I was disappointed at the unstinted praise for Dr. Mahathir. It was during his rule that deliberate promotion of the interests of the majority Malays led to lack of opportunities in education, business and jobs for the minority Tamils and Chinese. In effect, Dr. Mahathir destroyed the secular fabric so carefully woven by Tungu Abder-Rehman before him.

Krishna Kalyan-Raman,
Illinois, U.S.

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