Indonesian Govt Urged to Stick to ‘Asean Way’ Despite Thai Military Coup

Indonesian Govt Urged to Stick to ‘Asean Way’ Despite Thai Military Coup

By Erwida Maulia & Dessy Sagita on 09:25 pm May 22, 2014

  1.  Foreign affairs experts said Indonesia should stay out of Thailand’s domestic affairs despite the escalating situation in the country after that country’s military’s announcement on Thursday that it was taking power in a coup d’etat.

“We have made a commitment based on the Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] charter that we will not intervene with other country’s domestic affairs unless we have been asked to by that country,” Hikmahanto Juwana of the University of Indonesia told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday evening. “Indonesia should also urge other Asean countries to practice self-restraint to not intervene, stay true to the Asean charter.”

He added that the situation in Thailand could be volatile depending on how the Thai people react the coup.

“My concern is that if Thai people are not willing to accept the coup, a civil war might erupt and the stability of the whole region would be affected,” he said. “The most important thing right now for the Indonesian government is to ensure the safety of Indonesians living in Thailand, make sure they stay away from dangerous areas and they have what they need.”

With the two conflicting parties in Thailand having been unable to resolve their differences for months and no solution in sight, the coup was pretty much inevitable, according to Teuku Rezasyah, the executive director of the Indonesian Center for Democracy, Diplomacy and Defense.

The only figure who could have been able to unite the two sides, namely Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej, is already too old — which might explain his lack of action, unlike when he dealt with similar cases in the past, Rezasyah said.

“What I see is the military’s attempt to restore stability,” he said. “Theoretically, strong governments are still needed in Southeast Asia because civilian [governments] are not ready.”

“Too many civilian freedoms makes it very difficult for [some Southeast Asian states] to run their development programs effectively. In such conditions, the military feels the need to return to politics.”

Echoing Hikmahanto, Rezasyah said Indonesia could not do anything concerning the matter despite its regional leadership, citing the “Asean way,” in which member states handle their own domestic affairs.

The Indonesian government has yet to respond to the recent situation.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said on Tuesday Indonesia was “deeply concerned” with the developments of the situation in Thailand.

This came shortly after the Thai army made the declaration of martial law earlier in the morning to prevent more violence between government supporters loyal to ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and anti-government protesters backed by the royalist establishment.

“Indonesia has consistently called for respect of constitutional process and democratic principles in order to promote national reconciliation and unity, reflecting the wishes of the Thai people,” Marty told AFP. “It is our hope that this latest development will not detract from such principles and normalcy can quickly be restored,” he said. But that was two days before Thai army chief Gen. Prayut Chan-Ocha announced the coup.

“In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peacekeeping Committee comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4:30 p.m.,” Prayut announced in a televised address to the nation on Thursday, after months of deadly political turmoil.

The broadcast came shortly after soldiers took the leader of anti-government protests, Suthep Thaugsuban, out of the meeting that was aimed at finding a solution to a drawn-out power struggle that has polarized the country and battered its economy.

Prayuth had called on the two sides in a first round of talks on Wednesday to agree on a compromise that would have hinged on the appointment of an interim prime minister, political reforms and the timing of an election.

Wednesday’s talks ended inconclusively with neither side backing down from their entrenched positions, participants said.


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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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