Dialogue is not bad

From the Thai-language press: Thairath editorial: Dialogue is not bad - October 12, 2005

It is not clear if PM Thaksin Shinawatra is afraid Malaysia will become involved in the three southern border provinces making it a problem between nations or if he is afraid to lose prestige. For whatever reason, he denied to open a dialogue with Malaysia that was proposed by the Foreign Ministry of Malaysia and said he has no agenda to ask for cooperation in solving the problem.

Although Thai government always confirms the unrest in the south is a domestic problem, solving the problem will not succeed if we do not get cooperation seriously and sincerely from Malaysia. This is because our border connects to Malaysia and both peoples have similar nationality, language, religions, and relationships as we often visit to each other.

But when the misunderstanding happened when 131 Muslims fled to Malaysia, both governments should have a quiet dialogue and not necessary argue back and forth.

The Thai government should thank Mr. Anand Panyalachun, Chairperson of the National Reconciliation Commission, who used his status as a former of PM and old diplomatic agent to privately discuss with PM Badavi and Ex-PM Mahathir at Kuala Lampur and get confirmation that Malaysia did not support the separatism.

It is normal that Thais may doubt, but the way that the Defense Minister accused Mahathir as being a backer of the separatists should have been considered in a circumspect manner. Mahathir was Malaysian PM for 20 years and the southern situation was at peace. Recently Mahathir also condemned the bombs at Bali saying it was not the Islam way and this damages Islam.

We have to understand Malaysia has a problem with Muslim violence as well. The UMNO Party of the government is opposed to the opposition PAS party and it is the government that governs Kalantan State that is next to Thailand. The PAS Party wants to govern with the Islam way but UMNO separates the religious domain from the state and controls religious teaching so it will not incite violence.

Dialogue with Malaysia is not bad. On the contrary, it makes a closer relationship, more understanding, and cooperation.
In the past, our government cooperated to solve unrest in the south. The best example is the solving of the Malaya Communist Terrorist Party or, as we call it, the Chinese Thief Communist Movement.
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