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What is Deliberative Democracy?

Deliberative democracy is a popular school of thought that political decisions should be the product of reasonable discussion and debate among citizens. The aim of a deliberative process is to legitimise political decisions by creating procedures that allow democratic decisions to be a result of mutual understanding, publicly expressed reason, and broadened political inclusion.


Citizens will exchange arguments and consider different viewpoints. Through this conversation, citizens can come to an agreement about what procedure, action, or policy will produce the best outcome.


Deliberative democracy thus goes beyond the idea that outcomes should only be determined by the number of votes, or ‘aggregative’ democracy.

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Where has this been done before?

Such a model is not new and has been gaining significant currency around the world

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Why a Citizens’ Assembly?

The trigger for this initiative broadly started with two questions: 

1. Based on events since GE14, is Malaysia a nation in crisis? Are parts of the system in crisis needing reform, and if so which parts?

2. Is democracy itself in crisis, and is the model subscribed in Malaysia no longer relevant? If so, how do we reform this? 

How can this help Malaysia?

Based on our research findings, the respondents were very receptive to the idea of a deliberative council. However, there was a preference to avoid a strong association with the National Consultative Council (NCC).

While there is some resemblance to the NCC of the 1970s, the council will be branded and operate      differently.


A proposed name is the “Better Malaysia Assembly”.

Its composition should be reflective of society and one that the majority of people identify with.

Find out more about Deliberative Democracy, Citizens' Assemblies, and their applications across the world through our easy to read primer.

Scroll through the PDF viewer here to read, or download the file through this link.

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