Constitutional Amendment in Southeast Asia: Theory, Practice, and Reflection

The subject of constitutional amendments has attracted significant attention in comparative constitutional law and theory. There remains however a lack of attention to how Southeast Asian jurisdictions have engaged in the practice of constitutional amendment. This gap is particularly striking as constitutional amendment, and not judicial interpretation or even legislative revision, has been the primary mode of constitutional change in many Southeast Asian countries. This article examines constitutional amendment practices in several Southeast Asian countries, arguing that the practical flexibility has been crucial for these countries to change their constitutions in a “legal” manner, especially since amendments are often seen as legitimate because they purportedly re-indigenize and reclaim the countries’ constitutions from their colonial roots.