DEFINE THE CONCEPT OF CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS. COMPARE CIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS BETWEEN MALAYSIA AND ANOTHER STATES
Civil Military Relations (CMR) describes the military and its relationship with the political system and society which it part is of.1 Other scholar such as Huntington in his book Soldier and States dictate CMR as military security policy which together with internal and situational security policies is an aspect of national security policy, working at both the operational and institutional levels. In the laymen word, it describes the relationship between the civil authority of a given society and its military authority. Studies of CMR often rest on a normative assumption that civilian control of the military or military control of the state.2
Civilian government control of the military basically happen in the countries that have developed political culture. Meanwhile, military will use is power to control the government and the state when society’s respect for civilian government are low. In other situation is when high level of external threat creates a massive destruction to the state or people, military will intervention is more likely.
This essay will compare the CMR between Malaysia and Myanmar in order to differentiate and give clear understanding between civilian controls the military or military control the civilian.
Civil – Military Relations in Malaysia
Since independence, the Malaysian elites were determined to put the military under firm civilian control by limiting its role to a servant of the state and shaping the CMR in accordance with the democratic system.3 CMR between Military Armed Forces (MAF) and the civilian authorities has been predetermined by the federal constitution of 1952. The constitution is very clear about the distribution of power between armed forces and the civilian leadership. Article 132 states that the armed forces are part and parcel of the public service.4
The role of the MAF, since independence, has been defined in term of internal and external defense missions, with clear civilian control. The primary role of MAF is to defend the nation’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and strategic interest against external threats. Mean while the secondary role of MAF stated clearly to assist civil authorities in combating internal threats, in restoration and maintenance of public order, in flood relief activities and national disasters and in national development.
During the insurgencies periods, MAF played significant role to assisting the government with policies aimed at nation-building. During that time, Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak introduced New Economic Policy with objective is to achieve national security and development or KESBAN policies. MAF was played main importance role to strengthen and protect society from subversion, lawlessness and insurgency. A part from that also, the MAF played a significant role in providing security for construction project in isolated areas. On KESBAN, government launched several major projects. Example, MAF involved in clearing mines and booby traps before construction of the 116 kilometer East-West Highway from Kelantan to Perak. This major action taken by the MAF can be proved that military give importance role in relation with civilian and the country.
Civil – Military Relations in Myanmar
In Myanmar, government and the military are the same for the past 30 to 40 decade only recently they have changes theirs government toward the democratic nation as what they claim. Histories clearly show how the military’s play their role to attain the outbreak of civil war in Myanmar and quickly sought to expand its size to deal with the multiple anti-government forces and became more involved in national affairs and take over state power. The military claimed that civilian rule had nearly resulted in the breakup of the country, so military need to hold the country together.5
Huntington, Samuel P., The Soldier and The States: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations, Belknap Press, 1957.
James Burk.Theories of Democratic Civil-Military Relations, Armed Forces & Society Fall 29(7), 2002.
K.S. Nathan and Geetha Govindasamy, Malaysia: A Congruence of Interest, Muthiah Alagappa, Coercion And Governance, Stanford University Press, 2001.
Maung Maung, Burma’s Constitution, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1995.
Muthiah Alagappa. Coercion and Governance: The Declining Political Role of the military in Asia. Stanford University Press, 2001.
N. Ganesan and Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Myanmar: State, Society and Ethnicity. Singapore: ISEAS, 2007.
Zakaria Ahmad, Malaysia in Military-Civilian Relations in Southeast Asia, eds., Zakaria Haji Ahmad and
Harold Crouch, New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
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