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The Bureaucracy: Problem Or Solution to Thailand's Far South Flames?(Report)

Contemporary Southeast Asia 2010, August, 32, 2

Contemporary Southeast Asia

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Description

The conflict in the far south stems from a variety of factors. Foremost among these include: Thai nation-state building going back to when Siam had a relationship with the tributary state of Patani before 1892; the establishment of modern bureaucracies in 1906, which abolished the structure of traditional local elites; democratization after 1932; the assimilationist policies of the Thai state beginning with Prime Minister Phibulsongkhram's regime in the 1930s; and the injustices and misconduct of the government and military between 2004-09. The struggle of local Patani people (i.e., residents of the three southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat) centres on resistance to assimilation and oppression, and their desire to exercise greater control over the region's resources and their own culture and religion. (1) Since the reemergence of violence in 2004, academics, think-tanks, bureaucrats and politicians have produced a number of studies and reports on the southern insurgency which examine the causes and possible solutions to the conflict. (2) Among the many variables, one that has often been singled out as a salient factor in fuelling the grievances of the Malay Muslim population is problems associated with the bureaucracy, both in terms of the Thai state generally and its presence in the three southern provinces in particular. This includes the "one-size-fits-all" mentality of bureaucracy design implemented in the early 1900s as part of the Thai nation-building strategy; the lack of "integration" among public agencies, including the police and military, to tackle the ongoing violence and mitigate dissatisfaction among local people; ineffective policy implementation by bureaucrats; and red-tape and inefficiency embedded in the design of the central bureaucracy. It also includes the problem of bureaucrats who have been posted to the region from other parts of the country and who are perceived by local residents to be irresponsive, discriminatory, insensitive and corrupt. As a consequence, insurgents have targeted state officials who are symbols and representatives of government authority, as well as locals who have been deemed to have "collaborated" with the state, including teachers, military personnel and the police. (3) This paper aims to discuss the bureaucracy in the far south in terms of its two components: the bureaucracy as the structure and the bureaucrat as the agent.

The Bureaucracy: Problem Or Solution to Thailand's Far South Flames?(Report)
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  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Politics & Current Affairs
  • Published: 01 August 2010
  • Publisher: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)
  • Print Length: 37 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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