Army chief urges rethinking proposed special administrative zones in far South


BANGKOK, June 21 – The current administration structure Thailand’s the southern border provinces should remain intact but the idea of establishing the area as a special administrative zone should be reviewed, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said Tuesday.

“Thailand still needs both the central and local administration. Anyone who thinks otherwise must reconsider it as that may weaken the state’s power in the future,” Gen Prayuth said before leaving for the Muslim-predominant southern border provinces Tuesday morning.

The army chief warned that weakening the state’s power would be worrisome.

“Thailand is not a big country like some other countries which have vast areas. Thais are Thais. We do not have to model on their models,” he added.

Gen Prayuth has visited the South to follow up progress on resolving the problems, based on strategic plans assigned six months ago.

Statistics on the violence showed that the number of attacks has dropped but they still occur. Due to several factors, proactive actions by officials and attempts by suspected insurgents to cause fear among the public, Gen Prayuth said, the authorities must take proper proactive and defensive measures for the safety of officials and innocent people.

Implementation of measures for development and creating understanding must continue, he said.

Progress can be seen in measures taken in particular with local residents cooperating more with the authorities working in the area, Gen Prayuth said. Travel to work and school and to meetings and social events are safer (than before).

This indicates that the situation has improved as a result of several measures being implemented consistently, he said.  (MCOT online news)