Marcus Teo Wei Ren

Marcus Teo is a Teaching Assistant at the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore, specialising in public law and private international law. He has published in leading journals in his fields, including Public Law, the Journal of Private International Law and the Statute Law Review, and his work has been or will be presented at conferences organised by the Asian Society of International Law, the Journal of Private International Law and the International Society of Public Law. Marcus is also an Advocate and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Singapore, and is a consultant in the field of public law.

Designation: National University of Singapore
Institution: National University of Singapore
Paper: Constitutional Civil-Military Dynamics in Southeast Asia
Abstract: In 2017, Thailand’s ruling junta promulgated a new Constitution, the first under the auspices of King Vajiralongkorn, but still maintains a firm grip on power today. Meanwhile, a decade after the passage of Myanmar’s 2008 Constitution, the military still maintains its control over constitutional amendments so sought after by the Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government. At the same time, even as Indonesia’s period of civilian rule nears its two-decade mark, the military has begun reasserting itself in domestic politics and public order. Militaries in Southeast Asia seem to operate without constitutional limits: they oust governments, control elections, and withdraw from power when they desire. Yet, they still adopt written Constitutions, which they occasionally rely on for governance. Are Constitutions, then, not mere “window-dressing” for these military regimes, but part of a deeper dynamic of constitutional politics and governance? This article investigates the relationship between militaries, policies and written Constitutions in Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar. Drawing insights from comparative constitutional law and the civil-military relations field of political science, it traces a broad political dynamic which the militaries of Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar appear to be embroiled in, whereunder their role in politics and governance is intertwined with the written Constitutions in force from time-to-time in their respective states.