Thai security chief shoots down ‘Pattani City State’ initiative


BANGKOK, March 13 – A senior Thai government security official today ruled out the possibility of establishing a so-called ‘Pattani City State’ to permanently resolve the long-standing crisis in Thailand’s southern border provinces.

In an abrupt reversal of his statement on Tuesday, National Security Council (NSC) secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabut said the initiative regarding the Pattani City State was merely a prediction of what the leaders of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgent group may propose to the government during the peace dialogue.

It takes time and feedback from different quarters to materialise the idea of a city state and final approval by the House of Representatives is needed, he said.

Lt Gen Paradorn said Tuesday that the ‘Pattani City State’, if established, would possibly return peace and safety to the Muslim majority provinces in southern Thailand.

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva charged Lt Gen Paradorn with making a “careless statement” in saying earlier that the peace process for Thailand’s far South will conclude with the formation of the ‘Pattani City State.’

He said the NSC secretary general should be more cautious in airing his opinions and that a conclusion in advance is harmful, adding that the government Pheu Thai Party had raised the initiative of a so-called ‘Pattani State’ in its election campaign and the idea was opposed by southern people who called on more civic participation in such a move.

Meanwhile, Thaworn Senneam, Democrat deputy leader for southern affairs, called on the government to review its proposed royal decree to set up a public organisation to specially take charge of revitalising local communities and developing southern border provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani, Satun and some districts of Songkhla.

He said the authority of the organisation duplicates that of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, an allocation of budget to the organisation will contribute to misuse of the national budget.

There are only eight executives and a director in the proposed organisation and it is impossible for Parliament to check their budget spending, he said.