Government and Politics in Southeast Asia

Government and Politics in Southeast Asia

Government and Politics in Southeast Asia

Government and Politics in Southeast Asia


This innovative and up-to-date book provides comprehensive socio-economic and historical context on individual southeast Asian countries- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Each chapter begins with a description of the country's history, society, geography, economy, and basic statistical data. Subsequent sections focus closely on the formal organization of the country's government, including political parties, elections, civil society, and human rights.


From conception to completion this book was with me for most of four years in Singapore at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. It was an exciting, if sometimes worrying time to work in and on Southeast Asia — a Dickensonian best of times and worst of times. I had scarcely acclimatized when Thailand floated the baht on a fateful 2 July 1997, with economic, political and social consequences for the region that are still being worked out. iseas provided an ideal vantagepoint to track these developments, and ensure they are reflected in this work.

The book is largely an iseas in-house product. Six of the ten country chapters are by iseas staff, and the rest by authors who have had a close association with the Institute over the years — part of a wide network of people sometimes considered the iseas alumni. I am grateful to all for their willingness to adhere to a common framework, and their patience in entertaining a wide range of demanding editorial requests. Many others in iseas also made important contributions. the book would not have been possible without support from the Director, Professor Chia Siow Yue. the Administration provided sterling assistance, particularly in responding to complicated word processing requests through numerous drafts. the Publications Unit provided expert copy editing, indexing and design and production. the Library assisted with its unique collection on Southeast Asia, and Ms Susan Low compiled the material for the Key Statistics in each country chapter.

I am greatly indebted for the hospitality and friendship of numerous Southeast Asians from all walks of life during more than three decades of working in and on the region. in particular I have benefited from the generosity of academics, politicians and officials. Debts such as these cannot be repaid, but I hope at least that this book reflects accurately the insights conveyed to me, and thereby contributes to a better understanding of Southeast Asia’s complex and diverse political landscape.

John Funston . . .

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