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Civil Society in Malaysia and Thailand - Essay Example

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The author states although the significance of the civil society spans socioeconomic and political values, yet the presence and success of civil society activism are totally predicated upon the prevailing political environment, as is seen in the case of Malaysia and Thailand…
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Civil Society in Malaysia and Thailand
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Download file to see previous pages The salient nature of the civil society is exemplified when the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the Malaysian government was finally going to repeal the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), sometime in 2013, since the civil society in Malaysia had been agitating for this. It is for this reason that the cause of the civil society is seen as indispensable in reference to Malaysia and Thailand, as shall be seen in the ensuing discussion. Thesis statement Although the significance of the civil society spans socioeconomic and political values, yet the presence and success of civil society activism are totally predicated upon the prevailing political environment, as shall be seen in the case of Malaysia and Thailand. Evaluating the effectiveness of civil society in Southeast Asia The case of the civil society in Southeast Asia has been seen to be relatively successful, as far as both Thailand and Malaysia are concerned. This is particularly the case with the democratization of politics. In Thailand, the implementation of the new constitution in 1997 paved way for more robust participation in the Thailand politics by the civil society. It is for this reason that since 1997, the country has witnessed a steady rise in the recognition of civil liberties and freedoms such as freedom of speech, press, and association (Liow, 178). In Malaysia, the presence and activity of the civil society have also been vibrant, but as late as 2008. One of the testaments to the success of the civil society in Malaysia is the rising level of public awareness and participation on governance, following the country’s 12th elections which were held on March 2008. This development can be considered a success since one of the roles of the civil society is conscientious the people on the need to participate in political processes. BERSIH 2.0, BERSIH 3.0 and Himpunan Hijau are some of the proofs that underscore the success and vibrant initiatives of the civil society in Malaysia. These incidents are significant since they show that the Malaysians are departing from politically retrogressive ideas such as tidak apa and tidak tahu. Where and when civil society has been most effective, least effective and how the differences can be account for The differences in the degree of effectiveness of the civil society can be said to be occasioned by political developments which have been state-specific. In particular, the fruits attributable to the civil society in Thailand cannot be expected to be as ripe as those of mature democracies since it is only as recent as 1973 when Thailand instituted reforms as a way of inculcating accountability, transparency and good governance. The place of the civil society’s effectiveness rests also on the goodwill that Thailand’s political leaders possess. Specifically, Thailand’s civil society has since 2001 enjoyed the support of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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