Articles, Opinions & Views: The Problem in Southern Thailand Part Four

Views & Articles
No Atheists
In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

& Infor
Malaysian Food
Other Stuff




The Problem in Southern Thailand Part Four
Tuesday, May 10, 2005




ASEAN was not the first indigenous venture in regional cooperation. In early 1960s, two regional groupings were formed - the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) whose members consisted of Malaya, the Philippines and Thailand, and MAPHILINDO which consisted of Malaya, Indonesia and the Philippines. Cooperative efforts of these two groupings were soon disrupted by political quarrels among their members. It was the issue of Sabah between Malaya and the Philippines which led to the suspension of ASA’s activities, while differences between Malaya on the one hand and Indonesia and the Philippines on the other over the formation of Malaysia led to MAPHILINDO’S demise. Of the five prospective members of ASEAN, Singapore alone did not participate in either ASA or MAPHILINDO for it was then still a colony and soon to become part of the Federation of Malaysia. However, due to irreconcilable differences between Malaysia and Singapore leaders, the island “separated” from the federation in 1965. In the first half of 1960s, therefore, most ASEAN’s prospective members were engaged in a number of acrimonious disputes. The resolution of most of these, including the ending of Confrontation between Malaysia and Indonesia and the normalisation of relations between Malaysia and the Philippines, which had been disrupted in 1963, made possible the formation of ASEAN. Indeed, by 1966, the interests of the Five had converged to such an extent that they found cooperation desirable.

The vision of a united Southeast Asia has been one of the pillars of the ASEAN since its founding in 1967. [1]To date, countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam form ASEAN. Cambodia finally joined ASEAN on 30 April 1999 to make it ‘ASEAN-10’ a reality in the region.

The word “principle” connotes the establishment of a concept to the point where it becomes the part of subsidiary rule of law or an idea, which is/might be still in process of development and acceptance. ASEAN principle or ‘code of conduct’ emphasizes self-inhibiting behaviour:
a. non-interference in internal affairs;
b. non-use of force;
c. peaceful settlement of disputes; and, if they cannot be resolved, shelving them so that they do not interfere with other relationships between disputants; and
d. regional solutions for regional problems, thus limiting the scope for external intervention.

A constructivist interpretation of ASEAN holds that over the past thirty years its members have redefined acceptable interaction away from mutual fear and hostility and toward an emphasis on economic modernisation and cooperation as the way to achieve both national and regional stability. Although ASEAN has not become regime within which specific principles and procedures are required of members to resolve their conflicts, it has created habits of dialogue and deference to members whose interest may be most affected in a given area. [2]

Only 16 years thereafter, namely at the fourth ASEAN agree to strengthen and accelerate the process of economic integration through the AFTA (ASEAN Free Trade Area) program. ASEAN today is faced with new real challenges that it has to respond to. This might involve changes in the nature of ASEAN cooperation and its identity in the future. It is possible that ASEAN will go on as before without responding to those new challenges, thus risking the likelihood of becoming irrelevant for the region in the future.

There are four main challenges faced by ASEAN that could have significant impact on the future. First and foremost is the economic crisis, which began with a currency crisis, but has become a severe financial and economic crisis and in the case of Indonesia has become a complicated domestic political issue. Although some aspects of the crisis are national in nature, there are some that definitely have a regional dimension. However, until now there has been only feeble efforts to do something about the regional aspects of the crisis. There was the Manila plan to establish a kind of fund to complement the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a regional surveillance mechanism for early warning. Little attention was given on the crisis at the APEC Summit in Vancouver.[3] Assistance from other ASEAN countries was offered to Indonesia to help overcome the crisis, but thus was a bilateral effort or under IMF leadership. There is no precedence for ASEAN members to get involved in each other domestic policies, including in macro-economic policies, and there are no mechanisms for coordinating macro-economic policies in ASEAN.

Another challenge is the haze problem in Southeast Asia caused by the forest fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra. ASEAN has been caught by surprise and cannot do much about, because it is not prepared to induce Indonesia to do more to prevent such fires from breaking out. Even after such a calamity has happened, there was still the tendency to say nothing urgent and critical to Indonesia. It appears that especially where Indonesia is concerned all other ASEAN governments are very cautious, because of Indonesia’s critical position and leadership in ASEAN. The principle of non-interference has been taken to the maximum although the haze is a real calamity for other ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia and Singapore. And now that the fires have started again in Kalimantan and Sumatra, earlier than everybody thought could happen, ASEAN has to learn to adjust to the new challenges among themselves and find new ways and even formulate new principles of cooperation if ASEAN is to survive in the future.

The third challenge is the enlargement of ASEAN. ASEAN has already accepted Myanmar and Laos, while Cambodia’s membership has been postponed due to the coup d’etat by Hun Sen against Prince Ranaridh, his co-prime minister and rival. There are two problems posed to ASEAN due to enlargement. One is among ASEAN itself and the other one is in the relationship between ASEAN and its Dialogue Partners, especially the Western side, there are again two problems. One is the impact of the enlargement on the process of decision-making and the principles of ASEAN in the future. Decision making has become more complicated, while the principles of ASEAN will become more diffused due to the inclusion of the new members. This means that in ASEAN’s decision making in the future, consensus should only be maintained on matters the overwhelming majority should be adequate to decide. On principle matters, despite ASEAN’s adherence to unwritten ones, which has become a convention since its inception, certain number of principles should be written. This is not only possible now but will be vital for ASEAN because the new members had not been present when those principles were accepted and thus might reject them. It is important to ASEAN to accept new principles to be able to respond to the new challenges in a more basic way.[4]

The second problem for ASEAN cooperation due to enlargement is the need for the more developed members of ASEAN to assist the new members, especially in advising on macro-economic policies and investment , as well in human resource development. The older members also need to assist the new members in getting financial assistance from the developed nations. Without such assistance a two-tier ASEAN is going to develop that could be divisive for ASEAN cooperation.

The other challenge here is to help the new members move in their political and economic development and in doing so, to get the acceptance of the Dialogue Partners to include them in all dialogues and cooperation activities. Myanmar is one of the new members, where this type of assistance is critical, because it will never get off the ground without substantial aid from the developed nations. Otherwise she will face another economic and political crises like a decade ago in the near future. In this context, “constructive involvement” in the policies of new members by the older members is vital for the former and ASEAN as a whole.

In relation to Cambodia, it is obvious that the full participation of Prince Ranaridh and others of his party as well all the people in the border with Thailand, in the general elections in July 1998, is vital to the credibility of the elections. A solid participation of international and ASEAN observers for oversight is another pre-requisite for a basic fair and democratic general elections, which should be a very important conditio sine qua non for Cambodia’s participation in ASEAN.

The fourth challenge is to sustain ASEAN’s external relations, especially ASEAN’s initiatives and its role in APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum), and ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting). To be able to sustain those initiatives and make it a success, in which ASEAN contributions could really make a difference, ASEAN has to give more attention and resources to its participation. In some instances, such as in ARF, ASEAN should establish a more permanent institution to cope with its future development. If in the next two to three years ASEAN cannot get its act together, the opportunity will be gone and others will take over ASEAN’s role.

In summary, these new challenges mean three things for ASEAN. First, is the acceptance of new objectives and new principles to achieve those objectives. Suffice it to say here that the most important new objective is ASEAN’s greater integration in the future and that ASEAN has to develop beyond state to state relations. ASEAN should be able to formulate the basic principles that will guide ASEAN in achieving its goal and objective. These principles should encompass cooperation in all fields: economic, political, social and cultural. One most important principle in establishing an ASEAN Community is to be able to get “constructively involved” with other members’ domestic developments which have an immediate regional impact. This should be done in an “Asian way” (informal and non-confrontational).

Institutionalisation is another prerequisite for a stronger ASEAN in the future. This should include greater authority for the ASEAN Secretariat should be also an institution to support on a regular basis the ASEAN Senior Officials, in making and implementing their political and security decisions. The Secretariat should also include representatives from the defence establishment, because it will look after ASEAN’s political-security cooperation as well as act as the support institution for the ARF.

By looking at the ‘code of conduct’ above, ASEAN has not progress and prepare itself to deal with future challenges. It seems that ASEAN is more reactive to crisis complacent in nature. However, ASEAN have emphasized that they have an organisation for economic, social, cultural cooperation and in some occasion included political motivations.

There has been much debate as to whether ASEAN was meant to be a political grouping or an economic-social-cultural one. The fact that Cultural Revolution in China and the escalation of the war in Vietnam, were taking place made some observers argue that it was meant to be a political grouping. It has been said, for example, that “ASEAN in 1967 was essentially a political grouping designed to maintain peace and cooperation completely. Others, including the leaders of the five founding-states declared that it was “merely and economic cooperation”. Association is not to say that its formation was not politically motivated. Whatever the political motivations behind the 1967 Bangkok Declaration, the formal aims and purposes of ASEAN were primarily “non-political”.[5] It is possible that in order to provide a conducive stable political and economic environment, a secure region is needed to make it a reality.

ASEAN defined “security” in comprehensive terms. Security consisted of political, military, economic and social factors interacting at all levels of analysis. Five key initiatives form the foundation of ASEAN, or Bangkok Declaration of 1967, the Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN), or Kuala Lumpur Declaration of 1971; associated ZOPFAN Blueprint; and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord and ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, both ratified at the Bali Conference of 1976. These initiatives articulate a distinct vision of regional security in Southeast Asia. The ASEAN Declaration of 1967 articulates the security objectives described above. It states that, inter alia:

the countries of Southeast Asia share a primary responsibility for strengthening the economic and social stability of the region and ensuring their peaceful and progressive national development, and....they are determined to ensure their stability and security from external interference in any form or manifestation.

The mention of “external interference” implicitly addresses ASEAN’s concern to ensure that member states respect each others’ sovereignty. It is also a rejection of the military activities of external actors. The preamble goes on to “affirm” that “all foreign bases are temporary.” the stated goal of excluding all external actors from the region, however was not shared by all the ASEAN states and was the source of considerable disagreement at ASEAN’s founding meeting in Bangkok.[6] Within the Southeast Asia region, the institutional framework for promoting regional peace and security already exist but have not actually addressed some imbalances within member states that have given cause for conflict. ASEAN is possibly best known globally for its leading role, both within and outside UN, in efforts to end the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia, which lasted from 1979 until 1989.

However, Chapter VII, Article 52 of the UN stated that “nothing in the present charter precludes the existence of regional arrangements for dealing with such matters relating to the maintenance of international peace and security s are appropriate for regional action,... the security council shall encourage the development of Pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangement.” The ASEANisation” process on security matters operates under the purview of “musyawarah dan mufakat” (to engage in discussions or deliberations leading to consensus), which has engendered what can only be called the quite diplomacy on issues of tension and rivalries. In order to keep security matters on the agenda, the ASEAN security forum was established during ASEAN ministers summit at Bangkok in July 1995. There are several advantages of setting such military cooperation:

a. It ensures continuity of cooperation and working together at the staff and the ability to defuse potential conflict that may arise in the field;

b. It establishes a formal link with the government and policy link with the government and policy-making establishment and also will make it possible to defend member countries against foreign inspired intervention, proper planning, programming for a reasonably long period. Disagreement over the security issue arises for different political reasons.

In Southeast Asia today, political problems in a country evoke contradictory responses from other countries. When rebellion, or a struggle for state power erupts, moral and sometimes active regional support is often split between the government and its opponents. Illustrations can be found in the contemporary histories of Indonesia and Malaysia and elsewhere.[7] What role can ASIAN play if call upon to such a situation? Can ASEAN be a mediator to bring peace and harmony to the region?

In this sense, “Security” is here understood to mean a political order, both domestic and international, which protects both individuals and states against the immediate threat of physical violence. Security can be viewed in two aspects, namely and external. The internal aspect of security has two dimension: (1) the security of the people; and (2) the security of the state or the government.

The security of the people is seen in terms of the satisfaction of the social, cultural, economic and human rights which are basic needs. Undoubtedly, the security of the people becomes the only, and the best guarantee for the security of the government. The external security is seen in terms of protection of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interest, or a nuclear holocaust. It has been more related to a nation-state than to people. What are the major threats that are most disturbing in today’s contemporary setting? Major threats to Third World security in the post-independence era have been manifested in three different but mutually reinforcing ways: (a) insecurity arising from extra-regional intervention or invasion, notably by United States, Russia, France, China, Belgium and Portugal under pretexts; (b) insecurity arising from conflicts among states within the region, normally classified as overt conflicts between national governments and military forces and covert conflicts involving support from one state for opposition movements within another state: and (c) insecurity arising within states, from opposition to the existing regime, or from a general breakdown of political order generated from ethnic, religious and cultural challenges.

What are the principle governing security? For the internal political structure of each state, viable internal government should rest on principles such as democratic elections, human rights, good governance, respect for different groups within each territory, and their incorporation into the government. Based on these requirements, when we turn to the dimensions of possible success, however, we see that failure on one of the dimensions does not necessarily imply failures on all.

The principles which might be mobilised to deal with the threat to security are:
a. No Extra-regional intervention: the principle of regional integrity, and rejection of intervention by outside states.... “ASEAN solutions to ASEAN problems.” In fact, the reduction in tension and rivalries between superpowers and their military blocs has had a direct impact on resolving some of the intense regional conflicts in third World, as in the Horn of Africa, and Cambodia. There is the contention by some analysts that the super-powers may exert their influence on many of the traditional Third World rivals to moderate their conflicts and seek avenues and areas of mutual understanding, adjustment and cooperation. The obvious principle in this case would seem to be that any external intervention should only take place in collaboration with the regional organisation.

b. Inter-state conflicts: the principles of respect for existing frontiers. The founding fathers of most of the Third World sub-regional organisations, mindful of the existence of mutual interest and common problems among countries within the same region and conscious of the need to foster good understanding and good neighbourliness decided to respect the existing borders. The logic of placing emphasis on the ASEAN Declaration on mediation, arbitration and reconciliation is understandable enough. It is here that the regional organisations have their greatest role to play especially as regards insecurity arising from conflict between states in the region. One of the key principles of ASEAN has been that the member countries do not confront each other, and solve any dispute among them by quite diplomacy or by putting the matter on the self.

One major source of regional insecurity has been the conduct of governments within states. By far the greatest number of conflicts arise from the non-existence of good government, democracy, and respect for human rights. The achievement of good government within ASEAN states is therefore a further essential condition for regional security.

Bangkok have made tremendous effort to pave the way in accommodating the separatist movement by developing the socio-economics and the ‘hearts and minds’. It is believe that the Patani Muslims had not been severely deprived by the Thai state, and this is because the basic needs are met. (Maslow’s theory) However, this does not mean that the separatist will be contend with what they have.


The convention of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states needs to be replaced by a recognition that all states have a legitimate concern for the means by which their neighbours are governed . Any meaningful security arrangement cannot proceed without an agreed set of norms values and principles which govern behaviour and interaction among its constituent units The criteria for intervention and mobilization of a multinational coalition to deal with conflict might include.[8]:

a. The breakdown of centralised authority: A security situation within the state concerned that threaten the security of other neighbouring states.

b. A consensus among regional states on the need for intervention and rules which should govern it.

c. Either a request for intervention from a democratic government or a commitment to establish a democratic system after intervention.

However, one might want to know whether democracy in itself will be enough to establish the set principle. Presumably, if a non-democratic state is peacefully governed, and is not affecting the security of its neighbour, there is no need to intervene. Where a peaceful solution to the problem has failed, the regional organisation might have to recognise the legitimacy of military actions undertaken by opposition groups against the coup regime, and it is possible to permit its members to aid such action.

In extreme cases, ASEAN would have to support the principle of self-determination rather than face the implication of South Asian instability. There is of course, the fundamental issue of acceptable level of interference in the domestic politics by a regional organisation or force. Thus it would require a joint effort to stabilise the political affairs of some countries. No doubt, Bangkok has indicated that she prefer to deal with the separatist movement domestically, ASEAN members may assist by providing options and solutions to overcome the prevailing predicament in a state.


ASEAN has been active in putting up a common position with regards to the claims on the Spratlys. Vietnam has been conciliatory towards Malaysia and the Philippines. Vietnam had in 1988 issued a joint declaration with the Philippines calling for peaceful settlement. In 1992, Vietnam and Malaysia agreed jointly to develop areas under dispute and share any discoveries. In July 1992, ASEAN foreign ministers issued a “Declaration on the South China Sea” by urging the resolution of territorial disputes by peaceful means.

Indonesia, which is not a claimant to the Spratly Islands, was active in promoting peaceful solutions to the dispute. Indonesia initiated several of workshops, the first was in 1990 in Bali. It can be seen that the ASEAN countries have been successful in forging a common stand by ASEAN has modified China position, towards a peaceful settlement of the dispute.

The Philippines had been faced with the MNLF since the early 1970s. Negotiation between the Philippines government and the OIC led to the Tripoli Agreement. However, there was no lasting agreement as there differences on the interpretation of autonomy. Dato’ Yusof Hashim have quoted from Estrall’s article, “The Philippines needed the assistance of Indonesia and Malaysian leaders in the negotiations. Although it cannot be said that the help of the two states took the form of an ASEAN action, it is a certainly that it could not have been forthcoming had there been no ASEAN way and ASEAN spirit because peace in each member states is important for the peace of the region”.[9] The resolution of the Southern Philippines issue has been welcomed by ASEAN and the international community. Indonesia and Malaysia were seen to be promoting a good neighbour policy which had brought ASEAN closer.[10]

I believe that a similar approach can be adopted by one or more ASEAN state to broker peace talks reference the current problem in southern Thailand. The success of the peace talks between Philippine and MNLF should be a model for ASEAN to solve future conflict within the state and should be improve to face the next millennium. It may not be under the flag of ASEAN but merely the good relationship fostered in the organisation over the years of formation. Bangkok should look at the assistance positively and should not term it to be ‘intervention’ but more of a goodwill of peace and harmony to the region.


ASEAN has faced challenges since its establishment in 1967. The challenges have always been connected with the viability of the organisation. Whatever it may be, ASEAN will have an important role to play in maintaining peace and harmony in the region. The prospect of ASEAN in brokering peace is bright and significant, as long as the member states maintain its cooperation in ‘constructive involvement’ in the region. ASEAN can contribute within the region and between Asia and Europe in many aspect. To achieve a lasting solution ASEAN will have to set more ambitious objective for the future of the region.


Although ASEAN’s formation was prompted by the impact of external events on the region, ASEAN in the Bangkok Declaration did not see itself as a mechanism for formal dealings with the outside world. There were no readily apparent advantages for members in such collective approaches, the Association was not mature enough organisationally to cope with external relationships, and members still jealously guarded their national interests.[11]

In the early to mid-1970s, however, as the Association matured, as members became more confident in their dealings with each other and as they began to experience rapid growth, a number of significant international developments focused ASEAN attention urgently on the external environment, and caused an important shift in the expectations which its members had of ASEAN. These developments included the OPEC oil price rises in 1973, the 1975 communist victories in Indo-China and the final withdrawal of US military power from mainland Southeast Asia in 1976, the beginnings of Sino-American and Sino-Japanese rapprochement and internal changes in China from 1976 leading to its commitment to economic modernisation.

Faced with these developments, and the uncertain regional and global environment to which they gave rise, the Association’s members felt a need to demonstrate greater public solidarity and cohesion. ‘As never before’, Lee Kuan Yew told the 1976 Bali Summit meeting, ‘the future of non-communist South East Asia rests in the hands of the leaders and peoples on non-communist South East Asia.’ The concept of ‘ASEAN unity’ became, therefore, the primary way of demonstrating their resilience in the face of external uncertainty and threat.[12]

ASEAN’s basic interest in economic trading, to name a few are, the European Communities (EC), the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and India and etc; has the potential for economic growth. The change during the 1980s in response to growing international interest in Southeast Asia as a centre of potential economic growth, as a source of raw materials, and as an area of growing strategic and political importance. ASEAN has actually benefited tremendously especially in economically and politically.



ASEAN may have the solution to the Malay Muslim in Southern Thailand predicament, in light of the prevailing problem, Bangkok should approach the separatist movement with positive attitude. ASEAN may nominate a particular nation-state to broker the peace agreement and that particular nation-state should have the suitable criteria to do so, I would suggest the following criteria:

a. It should be a Muslim nation-state.
b. A non-bordering nation-state.
c. Should not have any hidden agenda.
d. Economically stable.
e. Politically and diplomatically has the will to influence.
f. A democratic nation-state.
g. A diverse and multi-ethnic nation-state.

ASEAN may not have any difficulty in nominating a particular nation-state to address the problem.



The separatist movement of Southern Thailand have been making tremendous effort to make the four provinces an autonomous state, by recognising its Malay-Muslim language, religion and syariah law and the right to self government. The Malay-Muslims has a different historical, religious and cultural identity which do not have any resemblance at all to the Thai society. Ethnically, it has a mark difference which make up the majority in Southern Thailand. The Thai government initially tried to assimilate the minority into the Thai society but The Malay-Muslim did not take it lightly and retaliated with aggression. The Thai elites wanted the very much to include them into the Thai mainstream of sphere of influence.

Historically, the Malay-Muslim resented to the subjugation of religion by the Thai rule in the 16th century. To make matter worst, the Malay-Muslims were deprived of the socio-economic, education and the political process in Thailand. Due to this deprivation, made life more difficult .However, the Thai government realise to overcome the “thorn in the flesh”, they have made effort to bring about a major improvement by including the four provinces in the Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan and with the aid of the military as part of the developing mechanism. The development plan will make a slight adjustment to the people by providing the much needed development in economic, education, social, and political participation. The Thai government has made effort in assisting the Malay-Muslims in providing the infrastructure, recognition of syariah laws and religious assistance. Since the Malay-Muslims had not been severely deprived by the Thai state and lack a strong cohesive organisation and limited support, they have been able to achieve autonomy for the region. The struggle were futile due to the fact in the absence of a dynamic leader. The reason is because Malay-Muslims were more had a strong believed of complying to the teaching of Quran and Hadith (the Prophetic traditions). The Thai government were able to convinced the Malay-Muslims leaders and a achieving a compromise to provide whatever necessary to bring peace and prosperity in the provinces. The Thai government may not have provided or met all the demands but surely it has made significant development.

No doubt the four provinces were linked historically to Malaysia, the Thai elite still believe that Malaysia provide support (Malaysia has made denial of non-involvement at all). As Alagappa has mentioned, Malaysia is deemed as a threat to the Thai national security with linkages towards the Malay-Muslims struggle in Southern Thailand. Malaysia had to provide some confidence building measures by working closely working with the Thai government in combating the communist movement in both country. Border meeting had also made the relationship more cordial and transparent in nature. Malaysia -Thai cooperation in higher education have brought new opportunities to the people in Southern Thailand with the recent agreement to admit students into Malaysian university.

The Malay-Muslim leaders had tried to rally support domestically and abroad in their effort to gain recognition in their struggle., however the movement did not really attracted much appeal internationally but did raised some attention among the ASEAN nations in particular.

There have been many kinds of dispute among the Southeast Asian nations either territorial, diplomatic, sea, and regional conflict. ASEAN is also face with the additional members over the years and in principle have not changed much in its principle to face the challenges. It is declared that ASEAN practices the self-restraint; acceptance of the practices of musyawarah and mufakat; third party mediation and agreeing to disagree for later settlement. The principle of ‘non-intervention’ in internal affairs of other member states have to be replaced with a suitable principle making settlement of disputes within ASEAN easier. ASEAN will have to reassess its principle to cater and to manage conflict in the future. Indonesia had played a important role in brokering the peace talk between the Philippine government and the MNLF. This proved that ASEAN members can play an equal role in brokering peace.

However, ASEAN may have to support the principle of self-determination rather than face the instability in the Southeast Asian. The success is determined by the states whether to accept the members to assist it domestic problems.



Allan Gyngell, Looking Outwards: ASEAN’s External Relations, Alison Broinowski,(ed) Understanding ASEAN, London, The MacMillan Press Ltd, 1982.

Bard E. O’Neill, William R. Heaton, and Donald J. Alberts(ed), Insurgency in the Modern World, SA, Westview Press,1980.

Che Man W. K, Muslim Separatism: The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand, Singapore, Oxford University Press, 1990.

Diane K. Mauzy,(ed) Politics in the ASEAN States, Maricans.

Evans Graham and Newnham Jeffrey, The Dictionary of World Politics, Great Britain, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992.

Fred W. Riggs, Thailand: The Modernisation of a Bureaucratic Polity, Honolulu, East-West Center Press, 1966.

J.A. Nields Mulder qouted in J.L.S. Girling, Thailand: Society and Politics(Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982),

Lukman Thaib, Political Dimension of Islam in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur, National University of Malaysia, 1996.

Muthiah Alagappa, The National Security of Developing States, Lesson from Thailand, Massachusetts, Auburn House Publishing Company,1987

Richard Hoggart,(ed) Peoples and Cultures, Volume 7, New York, Oxford University Press, 1992.

Suchit Bunbongkarn, State of the Nation Thailand, Singapore, Institute of South Asian Studies,1996

Soomboon Suksamran, Buddhism and Politics in Thailand , Singapore, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1982

Wilkinson Paul, Terrorism and The Liberal State,London, The MacMillan Press Ltd, 1977.

Aderemi Isola Ajibewa, A Framework for Internal Regional Conflict Resolution in the Southeast Asia Context, The Indonesia Quarterly, 1998.

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Estralla D. Solidum, “Regional Cooperation and ASEAN : The Philippines Experience,” Asian Journal of Political Science ,no.1(June 1997).

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Robert B. Albritton, Phan-Ngam Gothamasan, Noree Jasai, Manop Jitpoosa, Sunandpattira Nilchang and Arin Sa-Idi, “Electoral Participation by Southern Thai Buddhist and Muslims”, South East Asia Research ,4 (1996),

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Syed Serajul Islam, The Islamic Independence Movements in Patani of Thailand and Mindanao of the Philippines, Asian Survey, Vol, XXXVIII, No.5, May 1998.

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Wichayayuth Boonchit and Snuntha Nateny, The Eighth National Economic and Social Development Plan and Current Economic Adjustment, Tokyo,Working Paper 64,1998.


Mark Dennis, “We Believe in Our Guns”, Newsweek, 22 March, 1999.

Asia, Sri Lanka, Civil War without end, The Economist, 5 December, 1998.


Hanizah Hashim, “Malaysia – Thai Human Resource Fund in Pipeline”, News Straits Times, 5,April,1999.

Surin Pitsuwan, Insensitive Move Worries Muslims in the South,” Bangkok Post, December 10, 1983

[1] Diane K. Mauzy,(ed) Politics in the ASEAN States, Maricans,p.226-227
[2] Sheldon W. Simon, Security Prospects in Southeast Asia:Collaborative Efforts and the ASEAN Regional Forum, The Pacific Review, Vol.11 No.2, Routledge,1998,p.197.
[3] .Jusuf Wanandi, ASEAN’s Future, The Indonesia Quarterly, Vol XXVI No.1, 1998,p.22.
[4] Ibid,p.23.
[5] Diane K. Mauzy,(ed) Politics in the ASEAN States, Maricans,p.226-227.
[6] Shaun Narine, Asean and the Management of Regional Security, Pacific Affairs, Vol.71,NO.2, 1998,p.196-197.
[7] .Aderemi Isola Ajibewa, A Framework for Internal Regional Conflict Resolution in the Southeast Asia Context, The Indonesia Quarterly, 1998,p.169-183.
[8] Aderemi Isola Ajibbewa, A Framework for Internal Regional Conflict Resolution in the Southeast Asia Context, The Indonesia Quarterly, No.2,1997,p. 173-184.
[9] .Estralla D. Solidum, “Regional Cooperation and ASEAN : The Philippines Experience,” Asian Journal of Political Science ,no.1(June 1997).
[10] Dato’ Yusof Hashim, “ASEAN Cohesion: Issue and Responses”, The Indonesian Quarterly, no.4, 1998,p.322-333.
[11] Allan Gyngell, Looking Outwards: ASEAN’s External Relations, Alison Broinowski,(ed) Understanding ASEAN, London, The MacMillan Press Ltd, 1982,p.115.
[12] Ibid,p.118.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 5:58 PM  
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