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The Meaning and Purpose of Government and the Role of the Citizen in Southeast Asia (1)

1330–1500, Saturday 16 April 2016, C3

Chair:
Klara Christensen
St Antony’s College
klara.christensen@sant.ox.ac.uk

List of Papers:

  • Paper 1: Southeast Asia in Perspective: The ICBM in Thailand and Malaysia
  • Paper 2: Comparing the Royal Prerogatives of the British and the Thai Monarch: Challenges, Implications and Opportunities for the Successor
  • Paper 3: Thailand’s Military-Controlled Democracy: The Cause of Development of Underdevelopment in Southern Border Provinces

Paper 1: Southeast Asia in Perspective: The ICBM in Thailand and Malaysia

Regina Lee
UniSIM
reginaleewp@unisim.edu.sg

At the 3rd SEA Studies Symposium at Keble College (2014), I presented a controversial political framework for analysing Thai politics. I argued that the prismatic model of Fred Riggs is not merely outdated, but also was never relevant to the Thai case. A popular theoretical model was introduced by Thongchai Winichakul in the 1990s known as “bureaucratic paternalism”. This new paper presents an updated version of the model that I presented at Oxford University two years ago. The Institutional and Class Bureaucratic Model (ICBM) for analysing Thai politics is the optimal normative theoretical model for understanding the fragmented political institutions and economic classes that evolved under the benign authoritarian rule of King Bhumipol Adulyadej. There are three main political institutions and three main social classes. The political institutions are: the monarchy, the military, and Buddhism. I apply the ICBM to the Thai case and then compare it to the Federation of Malaysia to add perspective and greater depth. I conclude that monarchies are anachronistic, redundant, and parasitical institutions that have no place in late modern societies.

 

Paper 2: Comparing the Royal Prerogatives of the British and the Thai Monarch: Challenges, Implications and Opportunities for the Successor

Dhanaraj Kheokao
Potsdam University
dhanaraj@kheokao.com

A legal explanation for a hereditary heads of state in the modern democracy is a hot potato for anyone to talk about, especially in the society where the hereditary head of state is concretely – but overly – protected. This paper comes at the most timely occasion, when both the British and the Thai Monarch are now at the peak of their reign, but also aging towards the end of their time and the succession to the crown arriving in the near future. In light of their similarities in term of role and function in the legal order of both kingdoms, the political reality of their role and function appeared rather in opposite direction. This paper examines the development of the royal prerogatives during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and King Bhumibol. The author remains in general a supporter to the both institutions, but perhaps with some slight reservations. This paper compares the royal prerogatives of both monarchs at the present day and discusses the challenges, implications and opportunities for the successor of the both monarch. Here it found that most of the royal prerogatives are ceremonial, where the monarch is supposedly to act as a glorifying process of the functioning of the state. By doing so, it – at the same time – puts the monarch in a controversial position and will land them in constitutional crisis. Therefore, it is evident that many of the royal prerogatives are beyond the capacity of the monarchs themselves to occupy the issue at hand and leaving it to their circle or network becomes a boomerang effect to undermine their roles and functions.

Paper 3: Thailand’s Military-Controlled Democracy: The Cause of Development of Underdevelopment in Southern Border Provinces

Dharndhanate Hansuksakul
National Chengchi University
dharndhanate@hotmail.com

This research examines the development of underdevelopment under Military-Controlled Democracy of the Kingdom of Thailand. The significant goal of this study is to propose a new explanation to the existing arguments that the violence and unrest are the products of the development of underdevelopment under “Military-Controlled Democracy”. Most researchers study mainstreams of the economic or political development dimensions and simply conclude that the cause of conflict and violence in Southern Thailand has occurred because of the ethnic and religious animosities between Thai Buddhists and Malay-Thai Muslims. To the contrary, this study argues that the development of underdevelopment under “Military-Controlled Democracy” is the significant cause of the violence and unrest in the three southern border provinces. The democratic development has been abusedly orchestrated and exploited by military. Therefore, Thailand’s democratic development is still underdeveloped and seems cause grievances. Moreover, most provinces (except Bangkok) are administered by unelected governors and sometimes have been identified as a form of internal colonialism. The core (Bangkok) tends to develop most and the periphery, the deep South, is prone to exploited and underdeveloped. Military has received a huge budget allocation to security and development activities in the area, but the local people seem to obtain little benefits. The unrest in Thailand’s deep south cannot be won by military means, instead by development and freedom under democratic regime. Ultimately, this paper argues that the increased disparity of the development of underdevelopment under “Military-Controlled Democracy” is the main cause of conflict and unrest in Southern Thailand.