Former Malaysian cabinet member and MP Tan Sri Sayed Hamid Albar talks to FORSEA on the state of democratization in his native country, and across the region.
In cyberspace, the Thai Palace and its proxies are taking an aggressive approach. But this approach will eventually be counterproductive, since social media users today, mostly in their youths, have access to alternative information about the monarchy and refuse to be “brainwashed” by the state, like their predecessors.
Private corporations and public institutions in the US have pursued fairly consistent policy-level linkages with Asian-Pacific nations that seek to preserve American geostrategic dominance in this highly important area. Institutional power thus limits the impact of political change.
A future focus on international co-operation and the possible end of the trade war thus open the possibility for Southeast Asian nations to not only restore their economies but also to lessen their dependence on either China or the United States.
Myanmar’s second experiment with the parliamentary democracy is irredeemably flawed: The constitutional framework in which democratic process is located is categorically anti-democratic.
If the NLD does win by an even larger margin than in 2015, and the military-aligned Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) does worse—the NLD would potentially have the opportunity to follow through on promised reforms that would reduce the power of the armed forces, the dominant institution in Myanmar.
Three months have passed and the protests in Thailand have intensified. One of the main messages of the demonstrations has become clear—the protesters believe the monarchy is in need of immediate reform. In just three months, Thais have repeatedly stretched the boundaries of what is acceptable to discuss in public—and at large gatherings—regarding the monarchy.
Now that core leaders of the protests are in custody, the authorities are ramping up their suppression of demonstrators, and the possibility of life imprisonment has been mooted, it seems hard to imagine where this movement goes from here.
FORSEA issues the strongest condemnation statement against the Thai government. It urges the government to lift the emergency decree, release all those arrested, return free space for the people, and most importantly, stop using violent tactics against the protesters.