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Malaysia commits to helping Thailand sort out deep south

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Malaysia commits to helping Thailand sort out deep south | The Thaiger
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by Supalak Ganjanakhundee

Malaysia say it’s willing to help Thailand end the ethno-religious conflict in the deep South using peaceful means. Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad spoke yesterday, suggesting the root cause of the problem was not religion but injustice.

Gratefully remembering the time when Thailand helped Malaysia end the communist insurgency in northern Malaysia in the late 1980s, he said his government would help the authorities in Bangkok solve the problems in the deep South.

Delivering a speech on Thai-Malaysian ties in the ASEAN context at Chulalongkorn University yesterday, Mahathir did not provide any details on how the peace talks will yield productive results.

The peace talks, initiated since 2013, have yet to yield any significant results, with many analysts saying Bangkok has failed to address the problem at its root cause while most separatist fighters do not recognise MARA Patani as their representative.

Asked if the violence in the deep South could be attributed to religious extremism, Mahathir said: “I don’t believe that the centrality of the conflict is religion. If you look at the source of terrorism, you will find that some elements of injustice have occurred, for example if Thailand decided Chiang Mai will belong to somebody else, not be a part of Thailand, people will fight to retain their territory. People will be angry and want to recover their own land.”

As immediate neighbours, Thailand and Malaysia also have border problems, but the two have discussions to determine who has the right to cross the border and who will be treated as a national of either Thailand or Malaysia, he said, referring to the chronic problem of dual nationality. It is believed that these individuals exploit their status to create problems on both sides.

“We want to solve the problem through negotiations, administration or through protocol,” he said.

As for bilateral ties, Mahathir said Thai-Malaysian relations have been smooth as leaders on both sides are willing to solve all overlapping issues using peaceful means for mutual benefit. For instance, he said, the issue of overlapping maritime territory in the Gulf of Thailand could be turned into a joint development area, where natural gas can be exploited and shared equally through negotiation.

Mahathir, who played a key role as an architect of ASEAN during his first tenure as premier from 1981-2003, suggested that Thailand, when it takes over as chairman next year, should consider ASEAN’s internal market.

“I believe ASEAN countries have tremendous potential. The population is more than 600 million, and even if [some of them] are poor, they constitute a large market. Based on this, we can increase our output, but now we are buying everything from outside. We can do all things by ourselves.

Read the full story with The Nation HERE.

Malaysia commits to helping Thailand sort out deep south | News by The Thaiger

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South

Severe flooding in southern Thailand kills 7

Maya Taylor

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Severe flooding in southern Thailand kills 7 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Rath

Heavy flooding in the south of the country has killed 7 people, while many others have been injured. The worst of the flooding, which has affected 9 provinces, is in Nakhon Si Thammarat, which has had over 6 days of persistent rain. In total, the floods have affected over 261,000 households and tens of thousands of people, including a 14-month-old baby, who is in intensive care at a hospital in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Vast areas of land are submerged, with road and rail travel severely affected in places.

The Bangkok Post reports that in Nakhon Si Thammarat alone, 150,000 rai of farmland is under water, with over 12,000 rai of aquatic animal farms destroyed. In addition, farm animals have been left with almost nowhere to graze.

Nakhon Si Thammarat airport continues to remain open, with scheduled flights landing and taking off. However, smaller vehicles are unable to use some areas of the airport road, with military vehicles drafted in to take passengers to the airport.

The other southern provinces hit by heavy rainfall and flooding are Surat Thani, Phatthalung, Trang, Satun, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. Pithakpol Boonyamalik from the Public Health Ministry says emergency workers are helping flood victims and water levels are now beginning to stabilise. He adds that a clean-up operation and rebuilding work will begin in 3 to 4 days.

Anucha Nakasai from the PM’s office says the government has sent manpower and various resources to provide assistance and evacuate the flood victims. The Interior Ministry has ordered local officials to allocate funds to the rescue efforts in their areas, with immediate effect. The cost of the clean up, and how long it might take, is not known at this stage.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Thai couple arrested in Bangkok for allegedly trafficking 1 million methamphetamine pills

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai couple arrested in Bangkok for allegedly trafficking 1 million methamphetamine pills | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

Police in Bangkok arrested a Thai couple for allegedly smuggling 1 million methamphetamine pills. Police say 28 year old Weerasak Jedhun and 29 year old Jutharat Daengnoi planned to deliver and distribute the drugs to clients in the South.

The arrests stem from an earlier bust in Nonthaburi, a suburb outside Bangkok, where police seized 1 million methamphetamine pills and 15 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, according to police. The Patrol and Special Operation Division say that after the bust, they got a tip about a drug trafficking operation from a similar network.

Police stopped and arrested the couple at a petrol station in Bangkok. Along with seizing 1 million methamphetamine pills, police confiscated 3 mobile phones and a car.

Weerasak and Jutharat allegedly told police that they were paid about 50,000 baht to drive from the southern province Phatthalung up to Bangkok, pick up the drugs and drive back to the South to distribute the pills. The couple allegedly told police they were hired for a 3 month stint.

Police say Weerasak is also allegedly involved in 4 other drug cases. In one case, a methamphetamine pill was allegedly found in his pocket, but he claims a police officer set him up.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Weather

Heavy rain wreaks havoc in flood-ravaged Nakhon Si Thammarat

Maya Taylor

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Heavy rain wreaks havoc in flood-ravaged Nakhon Si Thammarat | The Thaiger
PHOTO: ฉ่าริฟ ริฟ ดีนนุ้ย

The governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat has put the disaster mitigation office on high alert, following 6 days of heavy rain in the southern province. Large swathes of land are underwater after extensive flooding that has affected tens of thousands of people in the region. The Bangkok Post reports that governor Kraisorn Wisitwong says floods have been recorded in 351 villages in 15 districts, with over 290,000 rai of farmland underwater and nearly 48,000 people affected.

Heavy rain wreaks havoc in flood-ravaged Nakhon Si Thammarat | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO:ฉ่าริฟ ริฟ ดีนนุ้ย

Nakhon Si Thammarat airport is open, but the flooding has had a severe impact on both road and rail travel, including on roads leading to the airport. Travellers are being advised t0 allow plenty of time for the journey.

Yesterday, severe flooding along a 1-kilometre stretch of the road from Nakhon Si Thammarat to Tung Song saw it submerged under 70 – 100 centimetres of rainwater, with cars and other vehicles unable to use it. The main road in the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat, the Pattanakarn-Khu Khwang road, was also flooded for a 2-kilometre stretch. There were flash floods further south too, in Phatthalung province, caused by water run-off from the Bantad mountains.

Train travel in the south has been impacted, with floods forcing the cancellation of several services. The State Railway of Thailand says 12 services were either cancelled or suspended yesterday. 4 express services between Hat Yai and the border town of Sungai Kolok were cancelled, while a number of trains between Trang and Nakhon Si Thammarat terminated early at Thung Song station, due to sections of the track being flooded further on. Buses were brought in to ferry passengers to their final destination.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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