January 11, 2013 00:00
By Piyanart Srivalo
Malaysia supports Thailand's efforts to negotiate an end to the separatist violence in the South and is ready to assist with a peace initiative and act as a mediator if requested,
National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Lt-General Paradorn Pattathabutr said. Paradorn accompanied Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung on a visit to Putrajaya in Malaysia yesterday.
Chalerm and his entourage met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and spent over an hour discussing the issue as well as other matters in an atmosphere which was later described by Paradorn as “very good”. He said Najib stated that Malaysia is categorically opposed to the idea of Pattani province seceding from Thailand, and vowed not to support separatists who cross the southern border of Thailand into Malaysia.
Paradorn said Najib would discuss the matter further during his visit to Bangkok next month.
Paradorn added that security agencies from both countries, particularly Thailand’s Special Branch police and its equivalent agency in Malaysia, were closely monitoring the situation. Should Thailand need Malaysia to act as mediator, Kuala Lumpur is ready to apply the Mindanao model, in which Malaysia played a successful role in mediating between the government and rebels in the southern Philippines, Paradorn said.
Colonel Pramote Prom-in, chief of the Fourth Region’s Public Relations centre at the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), said Chalerm signed a memorandum of cooperation with Malaysia on tackling problems in southern Thailand as well as other bilateral issues such as cross-border drug trafficking and Thai migrant labourers. He said many separatists who committed crimes hide in Malaysia as they hold dual citizenship. If Malaysia is sincere, it could help Thailand on the issue, Pramote said.
In a related development, Pol Maj-General Chamruen Den-udom, chairman of an agency that conducts Malay-language broadcasts in southern Thailand, said the agency would seek to cooperate with Malaysian broadcasters.