The Five Power Defence Arrangements and ASEAN Security Community: Overlapping Interests or Stumbling Block?

Matthew Hanzel*) ABSTRACT Approaching a more comprehensive ASEAN Security Community, the member states are facing security options among themselves, which somehow show disbelieve to the ASEAN as an institution. One of such options taken is the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), which involves two ASEAN members and three other countries. Established during a very contentious time in the region in 1971, the threat seems to be altogether reduced, while the presence itself raises questions, whether it is at the best interests for the region, or that there is any concerns that the ASEAN will never be able to come in time if there is any security problem in the region. This paper will examine the presence of FPDA as a tool of interest for its members and how it stands today with the establishment of the ASEAN Security Community. Keywords: ASEAN, FPDA, Singapore, Malaysia, regional security

I. Introduction Approaching the completion of ASEAN Political-Security Community, more questions appear than answers on whether ASEAN can be a strong institution in terms of maintaining security in the region. As the goal is closing by, it seems that ASEAN is still far from such ideal. There are many reasons that can be attributed to explain the problem, yet this paper will discuss one of the reasons, which is the remaining distrust, through a security agreement known as the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA). Even though ASEAN looks like a regional organization trying to maintain stability in the region, the fact is far from perfect. There are in fact on-going
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Matthew Hanzel is a fourth-year undergraduate student of Department of International Relations, Universitas Pelita Harapan.

.conflicts and disputes among ASEAN member states. Thus. no. October 2000: 107-114. The context of the establishment of AMDA is on the threat of Confrontation between the Malaya Federation (who was planning an expansion) and Indonesia (who was disagree with such expansion).1 FPDA was established to succeed AMDA due to the concern that the withdrawal of British forces from the region will leave a gap to the Malaysian and Singaporean defense. there are distrusts that lead sub-regional security arrangements to exist.." Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces. "The Five Power Defence Arrangements: Southeast Asia's Unknown Regional Security Organization. About the FPDA The Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) was formed in 1971 to replace the former Anglo-Malayan Defense Agreement (AMDA) formed in 1957. 1 . such as the FPDA. it was considered a necessity for the young Federation to protect itself from possible attacks. and the British troops were present in the territory at that period of time. II. the armed conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over the Preah Vihear Temple. Therefore. FPDA consists of five countries: two of them are ASEAN member states Malaysia and Singapore. which in turn may be problematic to ASEAN’s dream of creating a Political-Security Community in the nearest future. and the last is the United Kingdom. This paper will ultimately try to answer whether the existing presence of FPDA will constitute an overlap of or a stumbling block to greater security cooperation among ASEAN member states. and border disputes between Indonesia and Malaysia. ASEAN’s security ideals should be put under scrutiny. with the on-going problems. two are neighboring regions Australia and New Zealand. especially the air defense.2 When AMDA is succeeded by How Son Khoo. to mention some. "The Five Power Defence Arrangements: If It Ain't Broke. This paper therefore will use the FPDA as an example to discuss the distrust and its impact to ASEAN’s ideals as a security community. 1 (April 2005): 4." Contemporary Southeast Asia (Institute of Southease Asian Studies) 27. 2 Damon Bristow.. No wonder.

The consultation provided by the three outer-regional partners was destined to provide psychological deterrence. 5 Ibid. 8 Olivia Siong. http://www. 7 Kin Wah Chin.html (accessed December 28." Pacific Review 4. which are the Integrated Air Defence System (IADS). "The Role of the Five Power Defence Arrangements in the Southeast Asian Security Architecture. which remains the only standing component of the Ralf Emmers. in which member states regularly conduct highlevel meetings between the ministers of defense.8 The FPDA consists of three main pillars.”4 The existence of FPDA. One form of realization of the cooperation within the arrangements is the joint military training known as the Bersama Lima (five together) between the member states. loc. while without potential existing military power within the region." RSIS Working Paper. “… for a few years as they developed their own defence capabilities. typically after the Cold War. 3 . cit. 6 Bristow. while also performing a confidence-building measure between Malaysia and the newly independent Singapore. Five Power Defence Arrangement key to regional peace.: 5. FPDA is still considered as relevant by the five members. cited to be inappropriate and demanded for its replacement with inter-regional partners in the 1990s.FPDA. 3 (1991): 193-203. as mentioned also by Bristow. only to soften the approach in the 1990s. security. November 1. the arrangement changes from commitment to help the other parties during times of attack to mere consultation. cit.: 9. no. April 2010: 7-9. 4 Allan Crowe. so much that FPDA was suggested to be a. The Five Power Defence Arrangements (Canberra: Government of the Commonwealth of Australia on behalf of the FPDA Consultative Council. especially on the reason on why the British found it necessary to form the FPDA.’6 FPDA also faced skepticism. 2011.channelnewsasia.3 Meanwhile. “… temporary arrangement to allow the British to get out of their commitments east of Suez.”7 In recent years. 2001): 3.: 8-9. 2012). the British power wanted to provide both Singapore and Malaysia aid.5 Indonesia’s response to FPDA is described as ‘lukewarm’ following the repeated ‘behind-the-scenes objections. loc.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/1162917/1/. "The Five Power Defence Arrangements: Twenty Years After. Indonesia is one of the staunch opponents of the presence of FPDA in the region. is not without rejection.

2004).11 One of the evidences on how FPDA constitutes a realization of national interest on the realists’ perspective is the way Singapore views the establishment.’ especially during the establishment of Singapore Armed Forces after its independence in 1965. power politics. Meanwhile. military. FPDA is portrayed as a kind of ‘savior’ or ‘helper. Introduction to Global Politics (New York City. and states must remain aware of the possible acquirement of additional power by other states (especially the neighboring states) that may endanger their own security." in Conflict and Cooperation: Evolving Theories of International Relations. Marc A.: 1-20. and the conduct of international relations is based for the benefit and fulfillment of their national interests. and presence of FPDA in relations to the Singaporean defense. realism focuses on national interest. 2 (2011): 22-31. and security. California: Thomson Wadsworth. cit. 11 Richard W. role." Pointer. 42-44 (Belmont. Genest. Journal of the Singapore Armed Forces (Singapore Armed Forces) 37. Mansbach and Kirsten L. loc. states’ behavior is determined by distribution of power. Bearing in mind that Singapore gains its independence in 1965 Bristow.10 Realists believe that states will focus more on their national interests. New York: Routledge.12 How can FPDA be helpful for Singapore in building the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) can be seen through the following statistics. 2008): 19-20. Singapore perceived numerous threats to its existence: Indonesia’s Confrontation through the 1960s.9 III. The context is that during that period of time. no. "Realist Theory. 10 9 . "Rethinking the British Legacy – British Withdrawal and Origins of the Singapore Armed Forces.arrangements. FPDA as a Tool of Interest The role of FPDA can be seen through the perspective of realism in terms of power and security. which becomes the main pillar of the arrangements. and the impending British withdrawal from the region by the 1970s. 12 Lawrence Leong. the fear of Malaysia’s political disagreement that may impact Singapore’s existence. regarding the number of standing army. Being one of the great theories of International Relations. the military-political consultation. and lastly the joint exercise between the member states. 1966-1971. Through the Singaporean perspective. Rafferty.

000 42. Singapore today has greater ratio of active military personnel per total population compared to Indonesia. small arms. the following data. At the same time. http://lcweb2. even producing own ammunition. Library of Congress Federal Research Division. Year 1967 1970 1980 1989 14.000 Reserves Table 1: Number of personnel on active duty and reserves from the decades of 1960s-1980s. armored vehicles. 2012).000 50. December 1989.gov/cgibin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+sg0141) (accessed December 30.000 Data not available Active Duty Personnel13 50014 6. 14 An initial number of personnel first trained at Israel to form the Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore started conscription (obligatory military service for Singaporeans that are qualified). and purchasing tanks. Mind that FPDA is formed in 1971. renewing weaponry system. and aircraft. once perceived as a threat to its existence. In the 1970s alone Singapore tripled its active duty personnel while multiplying its reserve eight times. See ibid. Growth of the Armed Forces. may show that the SAF and the Singaporean national defense did grow during the time of FPDA’s existence.loc. with careful observation of the timeframe. establishing flying school (for the Air Force) with the help of the British military (!). establishing new maritime command.15 As a result. 13 . 15 Ibid. What is also interesting is how Singapore developed its arsenal with amazing pace during its first decade of existence. Rodney P.and that FPDA is formed in 1971.000 140. Kats.

asp?country_id=Indonesia (accessed December 30. 2012). http://www. http://www. 3rd Edition. 2012.S. J. Guide to National Security Issues.asp?country_id=Singapore (accessed December 30. especially Indonesia. 20 U. Indonesia. 2011. Singapore fulfills what matters most to its national interest. 2012). https://www.globalfirepower. Singapore.30 72. ed.globalfirepower. 19 Central Intelligence Agency. and interest-fulfillment perspective. December 5. 2012). In a theoretical.20 Global Fire Power. newly independent. Indonesia Military Strength.cia.34%18 Indonesia 438. Singapore. which is to create a strong defense mechanism to ensure its national sovereignty and existence.cia. 2008): 125-126.com/country-military-strength-detail.000 (2011)16 1.Singapore Number of active military personnel Ratio of active military personnel per total population Ratio of active military personnel per territory defended (in personnel per sq km) 103.html (accessed December 30.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/id. without a developed military power) found it necessary to cooperate with stronger states (such as the United Kingdom) to balance neighboring states that were stronger. since a considerably weaker state (here. 2012.com/country-military-strength-detail. 17 Global Fire Power.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sn. June 30. Vol..html (accessed December 30. 18 Central Intelligence Agency. how can Singapore use FPDA as a tool of interest? The utilization of FPDA as a tool of interest to provide a ‘psychological deterrence’ is true as an option of foreign policy making.23 Table 2: A comparison between today's Singaporean and Indonesian military personnel Aside from other variables that may contribute to Singapore’s military growth. Army War College.17%19 0.410 (2011)17 0.S. https://www. 2011. July 7. 2012). Boone Bartholomees Jr. Army War College. 16 . the great leap that happened after FPDA entered into force cannot be easily dismissed. II (U. December 13. Singapore Military Strength.

The Regional Situation Today: ASEAN In a greater map. while there is a belief that usage (or development) of military power will be counterproductive. op..S. while the United States and the British allies (such as Singapore and Malaysia) tried to maintain security interests with the outerregional powers. Inc. 25 Ibid.Therefore. typically Vietnam. typically during the Confrontation.: 20. 195-214 (Lanham." in International Relations of Asia. on the same time. Simon. it limits the full purpose of FPDA. the founding members can trust that Indonesia could be a peaceful regional leader that would not be as threatening for the neighboring countries. IV. 2008):198. cit. ibid. it is interesting to understand that both ASEAN and FPDA were destined to create a regional balance of power – a tenet of realists that states should prevent other states from being too powerful22 – especially considering Indonesia as the de facto leader of the region. that it is paramount for the Southeast Asian member states to maintain their existence by cooperating with stronger states to deter other (neighboring) states from overpowering. The issues of sovereignty and national survival become the paramount interests behind the establishment of ASEAN. Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. the Cold War was around the height. and the close ties with Communist powers such as China and North Vietnam.21 Thus. 24 Ibid. it is justified to think FPDA from a national interest perspective. Only after President Sukarno was deposed. See U. in terms of interest. "ASEAN and the New Regional Multilateralism.25 States may cooperate as such to balance other states that are considerably stronger. that FPDA is a useful instrument for member states (as shown by the example of Singapore). 22 Mansbach and Rafferty.23 During the same period of time. was one major problem. 21 .24 Indonesia.: 126. to the state-level perspective of fulfillment of national interest of the member states. 23 Sheldon W. Army War College. Communism started to penetrate the Indochina.

typically from the Singaporean government. The following statement may summarize the above point: The founding members of ASEAN were suspicious of models based on supranational institutions.asp (accessed December 28. and the Socio-Cultural Community. Will ASEAN’s New Charter Bring Greater Cooperation?. Khoo. is destined to somehow mimic the success of the European Union (EU). http://development.28 This ‘principle. signed and entered into force in 2007. as the larger regional framework where FPDA is located. April 2009. 2011): 192. should be put under scrutiny when the organization puts the gear into a closer regional integration through the ASEAN Charter. is well known for the distrust between the member states. inasmuch that Singapore was afraid that Indonesia would potentially become a regional hegemon. The goal of creating three distinct communities that will involve ASEAN’s civil societies. such as those established in Europe. Indonesia’s significant military power in the 1960s (significant due to the formation of Malaysia and Singapore) could eliminate the two newly independent states.26 The establishment of FPDA was also signified by the existing distrust. The Participation of States in International Organisations: The Role of Human Rights and Democracy (New York City. 2012). It was really close: Indonesia did commit attacks (or. the Economic Community. loc.: 107-114. as one observer says. cit.asia/issue03/cover-03. 28 Alison Duxbury. Emmers. loc. 29 John McLean. These attributes have been described by both ASEAN leaders and commentators alike as the ‘ASEAN Way’. and instead favoured principles of informality (as distinct from formal institution-building). 27 26 .’ embraced by the ASEAN members.FPDA has a similar origin: maintaining sovereignty.27 ASEAN. ‘terrorist attacks’) to Malaysian soil.: 9. cit. namely: the Political-Security Community. flexibility and consensus decision-making. New York: Cambridge University Press. to Indonesia.29 typically as they successfully evolve from an economic cooperation into a greater political cooperation.

as evident in ASEAN. Article 20. ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint (Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations. basic requirement. however. op. including the lack of governing organization (with the ASEAN Summit taking deliberative role).32 The shared values and norms.: 2. which renders regional security system incapacitated. and especially no sanctions on violations of the charter.35 The caveat is. cit. no. 1 (Januari 2009): 75. instead of using an institution with proper power to do so (by granting regional security). loc. A careful observation on the formation of the Community will point out that the Community focuses more on finding ‘shared values and norms’ instead of creating an institution with legal power to unite ASEAN in a common goal. cit.30 relying on consultation and consensus instead of institutional decision-making process. Further questions must be asked while observing the formation of ASEAN Political-Security Community. 35 Ibid. sovereignty. as ASEAN believes. and existence.31 the principle of non-interference. the problem of ASEAN favoring ‘informality’ compared to a EU-style formality can be seen apparent in the ASEAN Charter. 36 Wibawanto Nugroho.: 210. still considering balance of power (especially for Indonesia) to be the ASEAN Charter.33 Even with such most non-obstructive. Article 7 (2). 2009): 2-3. "Pertahanan Negara Dikaitkan dengan Kemampuan Negara. especially for ASEAN member states. ASEAN Charter. 32 Association of Southeast Asian Nations. is that national interest takes precedent over regional cooperation. are more paramount compared to a multilateral cooperation. especially when the organization is seeking for a new or greater relevance (such may be seen through the development of the three ASEAN Communities). will deter conflict.34 In an even bigger picture. The informality is evident through a number of issues. Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik.Nonetheless. Universitas Pelita Harapan) I. member states still question the move with notable suspicion. in most cases.36 ASEAN. 33 Simon. that national security. as explained above. 31 30 . the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) is often cited also to be a potentially ‘cooperative security arrangements’ to fulfill the common interests of the region. 34 Bristow." Verity (Jurusan Hubungan Internasional.

For instance. 40 Bristow. House of Commons-Library (2011): 19. which often stop at treaty signings. dissent. ASEAN then followed the ZOFPAN with the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976). 38 37 . 1995).: 2-3. loc. which justifies also the worries. Analysis: Overlapping Interest. freedom from outside influence. “… basis for defence co-operation between the UK and Malaysia and for further wider security interests in the region. Three months after FPDA entered into force. the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ. "Military Balance in Southeast Asia (Research Paper 11/79). Emmers believes that FPDA complements the regional security stability.main issue. Stumbling Block. 39 Tom Rutherford. or Both? Many contemporary observers command FPDA as being helpful to support ASEAN’s regional security interests. and is able to follow the development of contemporary security of Southeast Asia.”39 Bristow even went as far as claiming that FPDA will counter the concern of Indonesia’s revival. Nevertheless. cit. loc.: 210.38 Such relevance is even shared by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. which promotes peace. V.37 instead of achieving mutual understanding between the member states.’40 Simon. Freedom and Neutrality (ZOFPAN). it will be a mistake also to forget ASEAN member states’ efforts in ASEAN level (regardless of its (in)significance) to protect the regional peace and security. cit. and to cooperate in the field of security. Yet. or even pessimism. neutrality.: 11. another signal on ASEAN’s frequent failure to take real action to protect the interest of the region. and therefore FPDA is considered to be possessing its ‘deterrent value. along with the ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism (2001). op. that ASEAN is not working for the good of the region. Emmers. citing the importance of FPDA as. real measures are still difficult to be seen." Social and General Statistics Section. the five founding members of ASEAN signed the Zone of Peace. cit.

in this case from FPDA. there seems to be two differing sides. . for instance in building Singapore’s armed forces.42 As shown also from statements shown previously. Side One: FPDA for Malaysia and Singapore For the former. a strong case can be seen from the example of Singapore.: 2-3. only to follow and develop with the necessity and development of recent times. When discussing the impact of FPDA. The Author argues. On one side. if not overlapping. The ‘consultative’ nature does not alleviate British influence in Singapore’s military development. cit. op. while further scrutiny is necessary for the later. A stronger case is more apparent to observe for the former. The way Singapore accelerates itself on building its military might – especially to balance its neighboring states during its first decade of existence – will not be achievable without any support. FPDA is seen as profitable to the member states. Observers and parties alike cite how FPDA 41 42 A term used by Emmers to describe FPDA. that a greater belief that FPDA works for the better for ASEAN should be taken with a grain of salt. While this fact is undeniable. On the other side. as commonly seen from the perspective of the member states themselves. loc. depending on the perspective. which enters into force at the same period of time. Kats. cit. namely Malaysia and Singapore. as can be found at section (III) of this paper. the member states of FPDA does not seem to deny that fact. e. on how observers judge the success of FPDA and its place within the ASEAN framework. which is on how FPDA proves that there is a stumbling block for ASEAN to develop a more comprehensive ASEAN Political-Security Community in the nearest future. especially on counter-terrorism.g. FPDA develops to tackle larger issues outside the traditional security problems. FPDA is considered as complementary.41 In fact. the Author cannot completely deny the role of FPDA in maintaining peace and security. therefore. the Author prefers to emphasize another side of the coin. to ASEAN’s security interests. at least at the ‘mini-lateral’ level.In this perspective.

44 43 . This fact can be seen while comparing the two ASEAN member states that are members of FPDA to ASEAN in general. Just as what has been shown previously. cit. as depicted by Smith.: 21. the same is not shared by the entire region. The Penguin State of the World Atlas. cit.helps the new born states to develop their military power in order to guarantee their national defense. again. op.44 While the same reference does depict Malaysia and Singapore to be peaceful (which may due to the presence of FPDA for both countries). yet does not give the same impact to the region (in which Indonesia is among the center of the problem in the region). 2008): 75. see Leong. The State of the World Atlas shows that Southeast Asia is volatile. while there is no definite argument on how FPDA can help ASEAN maintaining its security and stability.43 This. The FPDA is often cited to be ‘growing in relevance’ due to more attention to terrorism (including conducting more training to tackle terrorism). which can be seen for example at the 2012 ASEAN Summit. where ASEAN cannot even reach one consolidated voice regarding admission of Timor For instance.: 27-28. ASEAN’s failure to internalize and consolidate is wellknown. 8th Edition (London: Penguin Books.46 In that respect. 46 For instance. Another observation can be done to the issue of terrorism and counterterrorism. cit. Dan Smith.45 which may clear Malaysia and Singapore from significant terrorist activities. Side Two: FPDA in ASEAN Context For the later side. there should be questions when FPDA is being related to ASEAN’s security interests. 45 Rutherford. loc.: 63. with level of peace ranging from high to very low. op. with some countries still brimming with conflicts. emphasizes the Author’s believe that FPDA largely serves best the member states’ interests instead of projecting the influence to the region. apparently FPDA’s impacts can be explicitly seen through the national interest of the member states.

such as the Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore Growth Triangle (otherwise known as ‘SIJORI’) highlights the fact that it is ‘my country first’ or ‘our group first’ instead of ASEAN. aside from FPDA being one of the paramount examples.html (accessed December 30. the Rohingya and democratization of Myanmar. therefore. FPDA’s Presence Today Then why FPDA still exists today? The answer lies again on the national interests of both Singapore and Malaysia. Insight : Good and bad news from the 20th ASEAN Summit.Leste and the South China Sea dispute. http://www2.com/news/2012/04/07/insight-good-and-bad-news-20th-aseansummit. and New Zealand.47 Of course. and to a certain extent of the outerregional partners of United Kingdom. pursue a ‘minilateral’ or self-fulfillment. way above the member states when dealing with problem. the effort has not been serious enough to merit command as being ‘for ASEAN. Bear in mind also that ASEAN member states. the region itself is relatively divided by the sometimes-overlapping ‘mini-lateral’ subregional cooperation.’ The FPDA. The way FPDA still exist today may prove to be a stumbling block for ASEAN’s idea of creating a consolidated Political-Security Community. 2012. give member states justification to act on their own behalf. southern Thailand conflict. 2012). and many others. which purposes are to be served by ASEAN in a regional framework. As a matter of fact. the long dispute and armed conflict between Thailand and Cambodia. to that extent. FPDA. Other instances. Australia. a strong regional institution will find sub-regional Rizal Sukma. more often than not. may also be translated as a part of that division between the 10 member states. April 7.thejakartapost. may still exist due to distrust from the ASEAN member states (in this case Malaysia and Singapore). 47 . ASEAN’s failure to decisively act in problems such as the Indonesia-Malaysia dispute. Logically. While ASEAN’s goal is to create a proper and strong regional integration. Regardless of the growing attention of FPDA towards non-traditional security issues that plague ASEAN member states today. until today ASEAN seems to be too transcendent. that ASEAN will do good to fulfill their interests.

Clearly. “… an attack on one member as an attack on all…” See Bristow. even helping British defense companies to promote the military wares to potential buyers in the region. so the emergence of such sub-regional cooperation can mean one thing: a question to the strength of ASEAN as a regional institution. or strong impacts to ASEAN as a regional institution. FPDA is believed to be an “unobstrusive” and non-threatening alliance. Indeed. Australia. Bristow’s observation on FPDA’s ‘strengths’ and ‘credits’ provide no direct. which are Singapore. loc. New Zealand. the presence of FPDA is faced also with suspicion. significant.cooperation in a similar field redundant. cit. from neighboring states. as mentioned previously. otherwise the presence of such subregional cooperation may suggest that the regional organization is actually weaker or comparatively insignificant to the member states (especially of those who participate in the sub-regional cooperation).48 Such benefits from the FPDA. Formed in 1971. In fact. cit.”49 nonetheless FPDA is perceived as threat by many members of Indonesia’s civil society. loc. Bristow observes such strengths are considerably in favor to Malaysia and Singapore’s interests. can be logically and explicitly seen as non-beneficial to ASEAN’s regional security in general. and in fact matters most only to Malaysia and Singapore’s national interests.: 9-13. even when it has developed itself to adapt with the current security necessities of Southeast Asian region. so much that there is a belief that FPDA may push the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to act on behalf of the United Kingdom. a member of the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) will be aided by the other member states. then Malaysia. While the presentday FPDA is without the principle of “collective security. FPDA is not the only sub-regional cooperation that exists with ASEAN. especially Indonesia. 16. Collective security. Besides the suspicion of Indonesia’s recent growth. deterring “both practically and psychologically an unidentified enemy” (which is Indonesia). defined simply by Bristow as. and the United Kingdom. The Author can then argue that no compelling case are built by many observers to justify that FPDA is in fact influential to ASEAN.50 Even though ASEAN has Bristow. becoming a confidence building measure between Malaysia and Singapore. 50 “If Indonesia enters into war with Malaysia.. member states of 49 48 .

in part. 2012).id/news/read/174792serang-malaysia--ri-bisa-dikeroyok-4-negara (accessed December 31.” Quoted and translated from Renne R. them. as long as ASEAN member states still consider their national interests to be significantly more important from the multilateral interests. to eliminate the distrust to ASEAN as a regional institution? ASEAN needs to gain trust from the member states that it can decisively guarantee the regional security. a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) joins the war. September 1. http://nasional. http://dunia. See also Elin Yunita Kristanti. due to distrust against the neighboring states in the region. Inggris Dukung Diplomasi Damai RI-Malaysia.news.co. Armandhanu.. shifted.news.viva. . thus attacking Indonesia en masse. Besides that. Conclusion Judging from a larger perspective. A complete trust from all member states may not be the easiest task to accomplish with respect to ASEAN’s regional integration. Denny Kawilarang. let alone creating a strong ASEAN Political-Security Community. What Should ASEAN Do? What can ASEAN do. September 3. however the necessity cannot be more emphasized. it is easy to assume that FPDA is nothing but a ‘relic from the past. 2012).id/news/read/175759-inggris-dukung-diplomasi-damai-ri-malaysia (accessed December 30. FPDA’s continuous existence from ASEAN’s tumultuous past can only mean the same suspicion may still exist. when there were urgency to protect the states’ own existence. meanwhile FPDA will cooperate if there is any aggression or threats to Malaysia and Singapore. VI. even if FPDA’s relevance has developed.’ For certain. there are distrusts even from member states of ASEAN outside of FPDA. speculation appears that if the United Kingdom. 2010. then ASEAN will go nowhere. and that its member states’ national interest still take paramount precedence.pressed for stronger peace and security cooperation in the region. then other member states of NATO will follow suit. Serang Malaysia. A. so as to push member states to pave way for bigger portion of multilateral interests to be prioritized than solely the national interests. As previously mentioned. RI Bisa Dikeroyok 4 Negara. As FPDA was born. 2010. it is formed when countries in the region were in conflict.viva. or even altered.co.

It can be concluded also that FPDA create more problems (even if it is considerably behind-the-scenes rather than explicit) than solution for the creation of ASEAN Political-Security Community in the nearest future. Not only the fact that it creates a ‘soft’ fragmentation within ASEAN member states by creating a sub-regional cooperation.ASEAN was established around the similar time frame. of course. even how gradual or even by the slightest of margin in the nearest future. Both Malaysia and Singapore. two founding members of ASEAN. regarding dispute settlement and when answering problems within the region. which guarantees more of national sovereignty and noninterference compared to a stronger regional cooperation. one of the member states. Meanwhile. evidently. requires . and contributes very little – if any – to the development of regional security in Southeast Asia. this paper does not completely dismiss the idea that FPDA has created some constructive results that especially limited mainly to its member states. The current state of ASEAN is being ‘handcuffed’ by the ASEAN Charter. An improvement of ASEAN’s decisiveness. Nevertheless. It is just one of the evidences on how FPDA serves national interests best and more than the regional security interests. an existing threat) in terms of active military personnel per population ratio. benefited so much that it shadows its once potential threat (and. When ASEAN enters the 21st century. its aim were shallower. ASEAN member states clearly no longer need to fear about their existence. it is an obligation from ASEAN’s side to strengthen itself. are significantly benefited from the presence of FPDA and their participation within. especially to be more decisive. and while it has bigger goals. FPDA is still perceived as threat by neighboring member states. Readers will have already seen how Singapore. thus its presence may hinder a stronger ASEAN as an institution. will give ASEAN member states confidence that ASEAN will be able to guarantee the regional peace and security (which. As stated previously. this paper also shows some evidences that it is a tall order to deny that FPDA serves most – if not all – to the national interests of its member states. with member states are walking into a new level of relationship with the ASEAN Charter – with all the setbacks – FPDA seems to lose its relevance.

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