Proportionality in Southeast Asia

Among the courts in Southeast Asia, the use of proportionality has been sporadic and anemic. But there are signs of a shift. Some Southeast Asian courts have begun to embrace and develop a proportionality analysis to scrutinize government rights restrictions. The Malaysian apex court’s use of structured proportionality in several recent decisions, for instance, marks a shift in legal doctrine and, more broadly, a shift in the judiciary’s perception of its own institutional position. That example has important resonance for courts in other fragile Southeast Asian democracies, many of which operate in challenging political systems with military regimes or dominant political parties.