Emergency decree in far south extended for further 3 months
The Cabinet Tuesday approved the National Security Council's proposal to extend the emergency decree in the three southern border provinces, due to expire on March 19, for another three months. Security in the restive region was also beefed up ahead of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) Commemoration Day today.
The proposal recommended that should the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) deem the situation in five districts to have improved, and in line with the government's talks with separatists, the emergency decree could be lifted in these districts and replaced with the Internal Security Act, without having to wait for the three-month term to end. The areas in question are Yala's Kabang and Betong districts, Narathiwat's Sukhirin and Waeng districts, and Pattani's Mai Kaen district,
NSC secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut explained that immediate implementation of the Internal Security Act in these five districts was not possible because consideration had to be given to the situation in the area, the atmosphere after talks with BRN and, most importantly, the civilian and police force's preparedness to handle it. In any event, the emergency decree remained necessary for officials' current work.
Paradorn, who signed an agreement for talks with BRN liaison office chief Hassan Taib in Malaysia on February 28, asserted that the March 28 discussions with the BRN would help ease violence. He added that other groups might also attend these talks.