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Anti-Charter Aseanists, unite!

Seven member states of Asean have ratified the Charter and only three countries have yet to ratify it. The three countries are Indonesia, the Phillipines and Thailand.

Of all the seven countries, not one of the ratification processes had gone through a democratic mean. In Malaysia, it was ratified by the executive branch of the government, without participation of the legislative arm.

For a document that would have far reaching effects on more than half a billion people in Southeast Asia, surely the document deserves to be vetted more closely. It at least has to go through the elected representatives in the democratic legislature. Or ideally, directly decided upon by the people via referenda.

Isn't that the invested idea in the Asean Charter, democracy? Or the Charter and the word democracy are so cheaply uttered by the lips of Asean politicians that its worth has devalued so greatly?

All seven have failed to live up to a democratic ideal and the Singaporean Prime Minister even has the cheek to say that implementation of the Charter would go through regardless of the ratification status of the Charter in Indonesia, the Phillipines and Thailand.

I would hate to have a Constitution which has no respect individual liberty forced upon all citizens of Asean. The current form is likely to be useless in advancing individual liberty, judging even at how bureaucrats, some of them are part of the most repressive regime, most of them are part of states unconscious or dismissive of individual liberty and all disconnected from the the basic unit of a society, the individuals, are writing it. In the name of unity, these bureaucrats are willing to turn a blind eye to requirement for strong protection for individual liberty.

Now, the future of a democratic Asean rests upon these final three countries. I urge all Indonesians, Filipinos and Thais to write to your representatives and urge them to save all of us. Urge them to reject the Charter and force the Charter to go to the drawing board again. Force the Charter to go through the people.

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