1st Edition

Politics and Constitutions in Southeast Asia

Edited By Marco Bünte, Björn Dressel Copyright 2017
    376 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    374 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In recent years the constitutional landscape of Southeast Asia has changed tremendously. Against a worldwide background of liberalization, globalization, and democratization, states in the region have begun to alter their constitutions, reinforcing human rights provisions, and putting in place institutional safeguards, such as constitutional courts and human rights commissions. On closer examination, however, the picture is very complex, with constitutional developments differing greatly between states. This book explores a range of current constitutional developments in the different states of Southeast Asia through a distinct political lens. Drawing on comparative and single case studies, it considers various constitutional areas, including constitution drafting, human rights, legal safeguards and the continuing role of the military, sets constitutional developments in the wider political and historical context of each country, and makes comparisons both with Western democracies and with other developing regions. The book concludes by assessing overall how far constitutional practices and trajectories are converging towards a liberal Western model or towards a distinctly Southeast Asian model.

    1. Contesting Constitutionalism: Constitutional Politics in Southeast Asia

    Björn Dressel and Marco Bünte

    I: Constitution-Making and Constitutional Design

    2. Ways of Constitution-Making in Southeast Asia: Actors, Interests, Dynamics

    Aurel Croissant

    3. Delaying Constitutionalism to Protect Establishment Hegemony in Thailand: Designing the Election System and the Senate in the Constitution of 2007

    Michael Nelson

    4. Constitutionalism Old and New in the "UN Kingdom of Timor Leste"

    Rui Fejo

    II: Constitutional Change and the Military

    5. Constitutional Change and Security Forces: Lessons from Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines

    Paul Chambers

    6. Embedding Praetorianism: Soldiers, State and Constitutions in Myanmar

    Renaud Egreteau

    7. The Legal-Military Alliance for Illiberal Constitutionalism in Thailand

    Eugenie Merieau

    Part III: Constitutions and Human Rights

    8. Human Rights in Southeast Asia: From Contestation to Compliance?

    Marco Bünte

    9. Undermining Religious Minority Rights in Indonesia and Malaysia: Fragile Coalitions, Wavering Executive Chiefs and Rogue Groups as Proxies

    Andreas Ufen

    10.Vietnam’s Constitutional Politics in Focus: Investigating the Arenas of the Rule of Law and Human Rights

    Thiem Bui

    11. Racial Politics and Imperatives and the Constitutional Special Position of the Indigenous Malays in a New Society: Asserting Interests and the Non-Contestation of Rights in Singapore’s Communitarian Constitutionalism

    Eugene KB TAN

    PART IV: Constitutional Politics and the Rule of Law

    12. Courts and Constitutional Politics in Southeast Asia

    Björn Dressel

    13. Contesting Constitutionalism in Vietnam: The Justifications and Proposed Models of Judicial Review in the 2013 Amendment Process

    Huong Nguyen

    14. Constitutional Politics and the Philippine Supreme Court: The Role of Public Support in Mitigating Politicization of the Judiciary

    Imelda Deinla

    15. Rule of Law in Illiberal Contexts: Cambodia and Singapore as Exemplars

    Stephen McCarthy and Kheang UN

    16. Constitutionalism, the Rule of Law and Religious Freedom in Malaysia

    Malik Imtiaz Sarwar


    Marco Bünte is Associate Professor at the School of Arts and Social Science at Monash University. Australia.

    Björn Dressel is Senior Lecturer in the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, Australia.

    '...valuable contextual narrartives and empirical evidence...the book provides fascinating accounts of domestic politics across a range of Southeast Asian countries...'

    Hao Duy Phan, National University of Singapore, Contemporary Southeast Asia