THAILAND and Southeast Asia lost a diplomat of great stature, charm and eloquence on November 30, 2017.
Former ASEAN secretary-general Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, a champion of democracy passed away at the age of 68 due to a failure.
Hailing from the southern province of Nakhon Si, the former deputy leader of Thailand's Democrat Party was a prominent Muslim figure in his home country.
In one of his last interviews, Surin said 'democracy has not been kind to ASEAN' and that regional members must heed the call for reforms toward shaping a more resilient democracy.
'People are yearning for a change that would give them more say and control' - Pitsuwan
The late leader also expressed concerns on electoral processes in the region. Not only they are being carried out without integrity, the diminishing independence of the courts, civil service and the media, are nipping away democratic rights of the people.
"There is widespread corruption, including in elections, and the rise of populist identity politics and unregulated social media spawning," he said.