PUBLISHED : 21 Nov 2023 at 18:13
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Srettha Thavisin plans to visit the three southern border provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala next week as part of the government’s efforts to resolve the conflict in the strife-torn region, according to Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin.
The prime minister’s visit to the region, including a tour of the far southern border provinces on Nov 27 and a plan to deepen cooperation with Malaysia, demonstrates the government’s commitment to addressing the problems residents face, he said.
Mr Somsak, who oversees a panel considering the security laws in the deep South, on Tuesday expressed support for the continuation of peace-oriented dialogue.
He said if the process proved successful there would be no need to debate whether the emergency decree imposed over much of the far South should be maintained.
The emergency decree is being imposed across most parts of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla to help security authorities deal with insurgent violence.
However, rights groups have been calling for the government to lift the special security laws in the region out of concern for abuse and rights violations.
Mr Somsak said that even though they do not bear direct responsibility for security, he and the other deputy prime ministers can work together effectively to address problems in the restive region.
He was referring to an observation made by an ad-hoc House committee studying the peace promotion process in the deep South which noted there is currently no deputy prime minister with a clearly defined duty to oversee national security affairs.
The deputy prime minister said he plans to promote jobs and economic activities in the region to improve people’s livelihood through various state agencies he supervises, including the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC).
Mr Somsak said he discussed way of boosting economic development in the region with the special committee chaired by Pheu Thai Party MP Chaturon Chaisang at a recent meeting.
According to Mr Somsak, among the issues raised at the meeting were reforms of budget allocation to address the problems in the far South and a proposal to revive the advisory council on management and development for the region.