Local Administration of ASEAN Member States

The local administration is a crucial role of governance in developing countries. ASEAN has focused on local administration and local government as a political development of decentralization. Historically, the wave of decentralization of governments throughout the world since the end of the Cold War has fostered decentralization in many developing countries. This movement has the power to dramatically change the relationships between the central and local institutions in such countries (Institute for International Cooperation, 2001). 

Decentralization reform continues to play a prominent role in Asia after being on the public policy agenda for two decades. As has happened in other countries around the world, the roles and expectations for subnational governments have increased substantially in most Asian countries since the 1990s. Currently subnational governments face a range of challenges, including the global financial and economic crisis, rapid urbanization and demographic changes, and environmental challenges and climate change, all of which increase the level of difficulty for effective service delivery (Martinez-Vazquez, 2011: 1). However, some countries still hold a concept of centralization because they do not believe in i efficiently and effectively of service delivery in the absence of strong administrative or technical capacity at local level, and afraid of local patronage and corruption.

Moreover, decentralization is a process, not an event, and stipulating a starting point in any country is a difficult and sometimes controversial exercise. But there is broad consensus that, for most countries in Asia, intergovernmental reform gained significant momentum in the 1990s. The evolution of intergovernmental reform has been distinctive for each country, but common dynamics can be identified. For the most part, long-run structural transformations—mainly economic and demographic—have created an environment conducive to decentralization, while powerful political imperatives have precipitated and shaped it (The World Bank, 2005: 6-7).

Decentralization becomes an essential issue as central governments have to look at the dynamics of their relationship with state and local governments, especially ASEAN member states. They have had the political centralization is strong as central governments tend to control their sub-national governments and the concept of local government have been emerged only two decades. This situation called “late decentralization” in ASEAN member states that central governments still be a central decision-making power of each country. However, decentralization and autonomy government is on the way. In the present, table 1 shows diversity of local government of ASEAN member states:
Table 1: Types of governments of five ASEAN member states
Country Type of Government Type of State Federated Units, Regions or Territories with Special Rights