Consensus a "hindrance" to ASEAN's decision-making

Another prominent ASEAN analyst has recommended the South East Asian bloc reconsider its consensus approach to decision making.

"It is a hindrance - in a situation if somebody wants to create mischief by not going along with what seems like a sensible, reasonable idea of how to move (an issue) forward. Because if they don't come along with it then we're held back and the whole region suffers. A decision has got to be taken," Munir Majid, former chairman of Malaysian Airlines and currently visiting senior fellow at London School for Economics IDEAS (Centre for International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy) told Quratul-Ain Bandial of The Brunei Times.

During 2012, ASEAN experienced vigorous internal debate on China's claims of sovereignty over South China Sea territories of ASEAN members. However, under Cambodia's chairmanship, a meeting of the association's foreign ministers in Phnom Penh last July ended for the first time in 45-years without a joint communique.

According to Munir, this year's ASEAN chairman, Brunei, may have to instigate "a hard decision". Although Munir thinks ASEAN members can be won over to this through quiet diplomacy, he adds "there is some childish interaction within ASEAN leaders which they should rise above."

See also: ASEAN should consider move from consensus (17 Jan 2013)

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