Southerners voice their expectations from the new government
Like their countrymen in the other parts of the country, residents in the three violence-plagued three southernmost provinces have high expectations from the new Pheu Thai-led government which is expected to be formed soon.
Reporters of Isra news centre recently conducted a random interview with several people of different walks of life about their wishes that they would like the new government to fulfil. The followings are some of the opinions.
Mr Sulaiman Bueraheng, a senior at Prince of Songkhla University’s Pattani campus, said that the most urgent problem that the government must address as top priority is the livelihood of the people in the wake of high prices of consumer products and food. He said that it would be very good if the government could deliver all the promises made by the Pheu Thai party during the election campaign.
Mr Sutthipong Chantharavieoj, chairman of Muslim Lawyer Foundation, identified widespread drug abuse in the deep South as a serious problem which warrants urgent attention. He urged the government to review the emergency decree imposed in the deep South and to consider the suggestion of troop cuts.
Regarding justice process in the strife-torn region, Mr Sutthipong said that police performance had, in general, improved whereas there is still problem with the military. He called on the government to take a serious look into the fact that 90 percent of the security-related cases in the region were acquitted by the court and how the defenders would be compensated after their acquittals.
Mr Sanit Promjiam, president of Bang Khun Thong tambon administrative organization in Tak Bai district of Narathiwat, identified unemployment as the most urgent problem in the region. Because there are not enough jobs, several youths turned to narcotic drugs, crimes and even joined terror gangs.
The TAO chairman also noted that many residents in the region had little trust in the state because all governments in the past have failed to resolve unrest problem. The failures by successive governments in the past have convinced many people to suspect that the state has no sincere attention to tackle the unrest problem, he said.
As for the Pheu Thai party’s proposal for a special administration zone in the three southernmost provinces known as the Nakhon Pattani idea, Mr Sanit claimed that many southern people doubted that the idea was the right solution to their problems.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, an army officer said that the problems in the region were far more complex and complicated than the separatism issue.
Echoing the opinion of Mr Sulaiman, Mr Waenasae Useng, a villager of Rue So district of Narathiwat, said that all his neighbours just wanted their livelihood to be improved and that they have enough incomes to make a decent living.
After almost a week of uneasy calm, renewed violence broke out on Saturday July 9 in Muang district of Yala when a teacher of a private Muslim religious school was gunned down on a highway.
The victim, 47-year old Mr Prayad Chupetch, was shot twice on the head by the pillion-rider of a motorcycle as he was riding a motorbike on his way to school from home.
One day earlier in Mayo district of Pattani, one suspected militant was arrested in a house raid carried out by security forces. Mahama Soree Doloh, 27, was suspected in the involvement in the killing of a paramilitary ranger in Sai Buri district of Pattani in April and also in the fatal ambush which killed four rangers in Pattani on June 16.