ISOC’s response to BRN’s demands
The Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has responded to the five demands of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) separatist group.
A well-informed source told the Isra news agency that ISOC’s response to the BRN’s demands has already been forwarded to National Security Council secretary-general Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanatabutr.
The response is not an outright rejection to the BRN’s demands but just a recommended guideline for the NSC to be used in the upcoming peace talks with the separatist group, said the source.
In response to the BRN’s first demand that the BRN be recognized as the sole representative of Patani community in peace talks with the Thai government, the ISOC counter-proposed that BRN must show that it can control all separatist groups and that it must have the recognition of the people in the region.
As for the second and third demands that Malaysia’s role should be upgraded to that of a mediator instead of a facilitator and that the Organisation of Islamic Conference, Asean and national NGOs must be represented in the peace talks as witnesses, ISOC insisted that the conflict in the three southernmost provinces was an internal affairs and it did not want foreign interference.
Regarding the fourth demand for the government to recognize the ownership right of Malay Patani and for a special administrative zone for the deep South in order to maintain the cultural, religious and language identities of Malay Patani, ISOC responded that BRN’s claim of the historic ownership right of the territory in question was just a chapter of the history and not the entire history.
As for the last demand for the release of all detainees on security-related charges and the cancellation of all arrest warrants, ISOC responded that everything must be done in accordance with the judicial process – which means that if any case is pending with the court, it must proceed accordingly without outside interference. However, arrest warrants issued by virtue of the emergency decree can be reconsidered.
The source said that ISOC’s response to the BRN’s five demands would not put the government in a disadvantageous position in the peace talks.
The next round of peace talks was tentatively set for October 20 in Kuala Lumpur. A new twist in the forthcoming talks is that the head of the BRN’s negotiating team might not be Hassan Taib who was rumoured to be removed and replaced by Arwae Yaba.
Meanwhile, there have been attempts by the government to bring more separatist groups namely PULO into the negotiating table. Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre chief Pol Col Thawee Sodsong was reported to have flown to Sweden to approach PULO representatives.