Government proposes 5-point rehabilitation for southerners


BANGKOK, Oct 11 – A five-point proposal to improve the quality of life for Thailand’s ethnic Malay Muslim majority population–possibly a non-violent solution to the long-standing crisis in Thailand’s deep South, will be submitted to the cabinet for approval, according to a senior government official.

Prime Minister’s Office permanent secretary Tongthong Chandrangsu said the proposed measure will include mental and physical rehabilitation, additional welfare, better education and housing, and frequent visits to villages by provincial and national government figures to create better understanding among local people.

The proposal emerged from a meeting of the committee on rehabilitation of people affected by the southern unrest on Wednesday chaired by Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.

The meeting marked the first anniversary of the committee.

Mr Tongthong said the committee, though criticized by some, has received compliments as well for its achievements.

He said the government will resort to negotiations and peaceful solutions to the problems in three southernmost provinces which include Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala.

Pol Col Tawee Sodsong, secretary general of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, said many southerners have been detained without specific charges against them, adding that the authorities have already assisted 200-300 detainees in this category.

Such detainees will be compensated if they had not violated the emergency decree or martial law, he said.