Revisiting Liberal Democracy and Asian Values in Contemporary Indonesia

Muhammad Bahrul Ulum, Nilna Aliyan Hamida


This paper aims to examine the complex and often contentious relationship between constitutionalism and integralism in the Indonesian government and provides a criticism of democratization within the contemporary state. Integralist state portrays the relationship between the state and the people as analogous to a family, with the state as a father and the people as children (the Family Principle). Those that adhere to this view, with regard to contemporary Asian politics, claim that Asian values are inherently integralist, that Asia’s particular history and values different considerably from the West’s, and that Pancasila, Indonesia’s state philosophy, is utilized to establish romanticized relations between the ruler and the ruled. The data presented in this paper was collected from relevant articles on Indonesian democracy and Asian values. It also demonstrates how Pancasila, as Indonesia’s core guiding philosophy, has influenced debates over how the constitutional should be applied and interpreted. As the research shows, during the regimes of Sukarno and Suharto, Pancasila was manipulated in order to promote the goals of the state, and that a reliance on integralism during Indonesia’s founding years severely diminished human rights and Indonesia’s capacity for an efficient democracy. By continually putting the priorities of the state above those of the people, the Indonesian government has contradicted its adoption of human rights and liberal democracy is often challenged by the spirit of integralism.


Asian Values; Indonesia; Liberal Democracy

Full Text:



Abdulbaki, Louay. “Democratisation in Indonesia: From Transition to

Consolidation.” Asian Journal of Political Science 16, no. 2 (August 2008):


Aspinall, Edward. “Democratization and Ethnic Politics in Indonesia: Nine

Theses.” Journal of East Asian Studies 11, no. 2 (2011): 289–319.

———. “Oligarchic Populism: Prabowo Subianto’s Challenge to Indonesian

Democracy.” Indonesia 99, no. 1 (2015): 1–28.

Barr, Michael D. “Lee Kuan Yew and the ‘Asian Values’ Debate.” Asian Studies

Review 24, no. 3 (2000): 309–334.

———. “Lee Kuan Yew and the ‘Asian Values’ Debate.” Asian Studies Review 24,

no. 3 (2000): 309–334.

Bourchier, David. Illiberal Democracy in Indonesia: The Ideology of the Family

State. Routledge, 2014.

Bourchier, David, and Vedi Hadiz. Indonesian Politics and Society: A Reader.

New York: Routledge, 2014.

Butt, Simon, and Tim Lindsey. The Constitution of Indonesia: A Contextual

Analysis. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.

Crouch, Harold. “Democratic Prospects in Indonesia.” Asian Journal

of Political Science 1, no. 2 (December 1993): 77–92. https://doi.


———. “Patrimonialism and Military Rule in Indonesia.” World Politics 31, no.

(July 1979): 571–87.

Darmaputera, Eka. Pancasila and the Search for Identity and Modernity in

Indonesian Society: A Cultural and Ethical Analysis. Leiden: BRILL, 1988.

Eldridge, Philip. “Human Rights in Post-Suharto Indonesia.” The Brown Journal

of World Affairs 9, no. 1 (2002): 127–139.

Emmerson, Donald K. Indonesia Beyond Suharto: Polity, Economy, Society,

Transition. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999.

Ghosh, Jayati. “Coercive Corporatism: The State in Indonesian Capitalism.” Social

Scientist 24, no. 11/12 (November 1996): 36.

Heryanto, Ariel, and Vedi R. Hadiz. “Post-Authoritarian Indonesia: A Comparative

Southeast Asian Perspective.” Critical Asian Studies 37, no. 2 (January 2005):


Hoon, Chang Yau. “Revisiting the Asian Values Argument Used by Asian Political

Leaders and Its Validity.” The Indonesian Quarterly 32, no. 2 (2004). https://

Indrayana, Denny. Amandemen UUD 1945: Antara Mitos dan Pembongkaran.

Mizan Pustaka, 2007.

———. Negara Antara Ada dan Tiada: Reformasi Hukum Ketatanegaraan. Jakarta:

Kompas, 2008.

Kingsbury, Damien, and Leena Avonius, eds. Human Rights in Asia: A Reassessment

of the Asian Values Debate. 1st ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Lindsey, Tim. “Indonesian Constitutional Reform: Muddling Towards Democracy.”

Sing. J. Int’l & Comp. L. 6 (2002): 244.

Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia. Naskah Komprehensif Perubahan

Undang-Undang Dasar Negara Republik Indonesia Tahun 1945: Latar

Belakang, Proses, Dan Hasil Pembahasan 1999-2002. Buku X: Perubahan

UUD, Aturan Peralihan dan Aturan Tambahan. Jakarta: Sekretariat Jenderal

dan Kepaniteraan MK, 2010.



Mietzner, Marcus. Military Politics, Islam, and the State in Indonesia: From

Turbulent Transition to Democratic Consolidation. Singapore: Institute of

Southeast Asian Studies, 2009.

Morfit, Michael. “Pancasila: The Indonesian State Ideology According to the New

Order Government.” Asian Survey 21, no. 8 (August 1981): 838–51. https://

Nasution, Adnan Buyung. Aspirasi Pemerintahan Konstitusional di Indonesia:

Studi Sosio-Legal Atas Konstituante 1956-1959, 1995.

———. “Relasi Kekuasaan Legislatif dan Presiden Pasca Amandemen UUD 1945:

Sistem Semi Presidensial Dalam Proyeksi.” Jurnal Hukum IUS QUIA IUSTUM

, no. 28 (2005): 1–11.

———. “Towards Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia”. In Adnan Buyung

Nasution Papers on Southeast Asian Constitutionalism: 35. Melbourne: Asian

Law Centre, Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne, 2011.

Nuijten, Monique, and Gerhard Anders. Corruption and the Secret of Law: A

Legal Anthropological Perspective. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007.

Ricklefs, M. C. A History of Modern Indonesia Since C. 1300 to the Present. London:

Macmillan Education UK, 1981.

Robison, Richard. “The Politics of ?Asian Values?” The Pacific Review 9, no. 3

(January 1996): 309–27.

Subramaniam, Surain. “The Asian Values Debate: Implications for the Spread

of Liberal Democracy.” Asian Affairs: An American Review 27, no. 1 (January

: 19–35.

Taylor-Robinson, Michelle M., and Joseph Daniel Ura. “Public Opinion and

Conflict in the Separation of Powers: Understanding the Honduran Coup of

” Journal of Theoretical Politics 25, no. 1 (January 2013): 105–27. https://

The Jakarta Post. “Infrastructure Development on Track: Jokowi - Business -

The Jakarta Post.” Accessed August 5, 2017.


The Jakarta Post. “The SBY Years: A Legacy of Lackluster Economy.” The

Jakarta Post. Accessed August 5, 2017.


Thompson, Mark R. “Pacific Asia After Asian Values: Authoritarianism, Democracy,

and Good Governance.” Third World Quarterly 25, no. 6 (September 2004):


Thompson, Mark R. “Whatever Happened to Asian Values?” Journal of Democracy

, no. 4 (2001): 154–65.

Weatherbee, Donald E. “Indonesia: Political Drift and State Decay.” The Brown

Journal of World Affairs 9, no. 1 (2002): 23–33.

Zakaria, Fareed. “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy.” Foreign Affairs, (1997): 22–43.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 976 times
PDF view : 303 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Constitutional Review