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Assess the view that the policies of newly independent states towards minorities

have been a major cause of political instability.

The threat posed by minority groups could be seens as the threat to national
unity of the nationas. Polciies have been used by the governments to effectively
deal with helping to create national unity. Much as social policies have been
useful in integrating the minorities to foster national unity, poltical and economic
policies were seen as ineffective to allow southeast asian countries to create
national unity due to its inability to create an inclusive society for the minorities
and the majority of the population as a whole. Hence I disagree to a large extent
that Southeast Asian nations were effective.
Poltical policies were seen as ineffective to integrate the minorities as the
government and the ruling elite will always be dominated by the majority ethnic
or religious group. There would be a large amount of near complete amount of
poltical representatios to be of the majority population. This will cause the
minorities to have their voices unheard of due to lack of political participation
and they felt that was a biased treatment against them and that the poltical elite
would be unable to create policies favourbale to them, resulting in threatening of
national unity by the minorities. In Indonesia, there was an over representation
of poltical elite that was of the majority Javanese. The avanese took up a large
number of the poltical seats, of 50% in the reolution period, 74% in 1977 and
80% in 1978. This shows the political dominance of the majority in the poltical
scene, showing the lack of influence of the weak minorities to continue to
perpetuate over the years. Furthermore, the military has consistently been made
up of mostly Javanese, consistently at around 0%. Thus, the Javanese were
dominating the political scene and the minorities are left out, causing them to
pose threat due to the unfair treatment. In Burma, Burmanisation was seen to be
brought about, which led to the majirty or almost completely all of the political
elite to be of Burmans. The Anti-Fascist peoples freedom league (AFPFL) was
also largely made of Burman, and they had dominated the poltical scene with the
end of the Japanese Occupation. This shows that the policy of Burmanisation was
targeted at only benefitting the majority and is unfair to the minorities, thereby
threatengin the loyalty of the minorities to the state due to the unfair treatment
and representation they receive.
Economic policies by the states have proven to be ineffective and threatened the
poltical stability with the unfair treatment and attention given to the minorities.
The minorities economically disadvantaged. Some might have been abl to
connitue to climb up the economic ladder with their capabilities. However, they
are still feeling unjust and prejudiced against by the government with the
priorities and benefit given only to the majority causing them to be
disadvantaged. This causes the threat of minority groups to cause national unity
to be forgone in the process. In Thailand, the Northeast regions were suffering
economically much more as compared to the rest of the nation, casuing them to
feel marginalized. Much as economic policies were made for the region, income
inequality has worsened instead. At the start, more foucs was on developing
Bangkok itself and the region was see as a source of cheap labour. Much of the
latter agricultural policies to improve the areas agricultural sector was
implemented the region became seen to be much pooerer than the regions mat
are undergoing industrialization and fetch higher incomes home. Thus, the
northeastern region with a vast majority still lving under poverty line feel
discriminated in terms of their treatment economically, threatening national
unity. In Indonesia, the minorities were economically disadvantaged as compared

to the indigenous Indonesias, curtailing the role the Chinese could play, in the
eoncomic sector. In 1979, a regulation was passed, needing all foreign
investments to be in the form of joint venture with indigenous Indonesias. In
1979, another regulationwas passed, stating that the government contracts
would be given priority to the local economically disadvantaged groups, the
indigenous Indonesians. The priority given to the Indonesias would lead to the
Chinese to lose out and thus biased treatment could threaten national unity due
to the hatred created form the minorits towards the governments.
However, the social policies were more effective in inculcating the minorities into
the nation so as to promote national unity. National unity to include the
minorities was fostered through cultural and national values that were promoted
to foster a stronger sense of nationalism soon that all ethnic groups, the
minorities included will see themselves as a state, thereby reducing the threat
the minorities posed to threaten national unity forged by the nation. In Indonesia,
the national ideology of Panchasila was widely promoted by the government. It
has five principles of which the first which states the belief in God implies that
the minorities values and cutlrue should be involved in the nation-building
process so they should also be seen as one. In 1978, an institution was
established to instill the Pnachasila ideology. Hence, as one can feel from the
policies used to forge national unity through ideologies and culture was effective
as it made the minorities integrated allow them to see themselves as part of the
nation home, fostering national unity and reducing threat posed. In Laos, the
revolution for the Party Central organization concerning ethnic minorities affairs
in the new era is recasted to include all the minorities in the country in 1992.
This has allowed all the minorities int eh country in 1992. This has allowed Laos
to gain greater national unity through uniting the minorities as a whole, and from
allowing the nation to grow as one. Improving of living conditions of the
minorities and expanding on the minorities cultural and historical heritage as
part of the program helps to allow the minorities to be able to see themselves,
given attention to by the government and the unbiased treatment would see
national unity to be forged as the minorities feel inclusive and contented in the
society, reducing the threat they pose to national unity.
In conclusion, much as minorities were given certain fair treatment as the
government tried to inegrate them through promoting cutlrue and national
values, making them feel at home, the lack of poltical representation clearly
states the lack of minoritiy rights and they are still deemed as insignificant in
comparison to the rest. Economic policies pulled minorities apart from the rest as
they caused the minorities to sense the differential treatment clearly, much as
national unity was promoted, and they deem it as a faade behind the biased
treatment. Hence, policies were ineffective to a large extent.


The move by Southeast Asian governments to formally designate the

language of the majority ethnic group as the national language in their
respective countries, greatly aroused the fears and apprehensions of the
minorities over the prospect of being dominated by the majority group, hence
leading to political instability. (Burma, Thailand, Malaysia)

The choice of a state religion, usually based on that of the majority ethnic
group in the respective Southeast Asian states, as a unifying tool was seen by
the ethnic and religious minorities as a clear indication of their inferior status as
compared to the majority group, thereby stimulating their opposition to the new
nation-states and resulting in political instability. (Burma, Thailand)

The tendency of most Southeast Asian governments to adopt the

assimilative approach to national unity, usually through the provision of a
standardised education in national schools, provoked the unhappiness and
hostility of the minorities who viewed it as an attempt to impose the culture of

the dominant group on them as a basis for a national identity, therefore causing
political instability. (Burma, Thailand, Indonesia)
The promotion of a neutral language in some Southeast Asian countries
contributed to a sense of cultural equality and helped to reinforce ethnic
harmony between the majority and minority groups, thereby facilitating the
stability. (Singapore, Indonesia)
The flexible approach to the issue of religion, usually premised on the
commitment to a secular state, by some Southeast Asian governments helped to
alleviate the fears and concerns of ethnic and religious minorities about the
domination of the majority group, hence encouraging the integration of
instability. (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia)
The emphasis on multiculturalism by some Southeast Asian states provided a
conducive environment for minorities to participate in the gradual formulation of
a common national identity, without the fear of undermining their distinct
religion and culture, thereby contributing to political stability. (Singapore,
Evaluation focus on the differing impact of assimilative and multiculturalist
policies on the various ethnic and religious minorities in Southeast Asia and their
consequent response to their inclusion as part of the newly-established nationstates