Thursday, March 29, 2007

Is Malaysia Covertly Supporting Insurgency In Southern Thailand?

The south of Thailand is burning and it looks like the government in Bangkok does not know how to douse the flames. There is also increasing suspicion that there are dalang outside the country who are clandestinely flaming the communal fire, causing it to rage without control or direction.

There are real fears that the bloody Islamic insurgency could erupt into total war between the major religious communities. The festering insurgency that has already taken more than 2,000 lives could become an all-out sectarian conflict between the Muslim and Buddhist communities.

Drive-by shootings and bombings occur almost daily in Thailand's three Muslim-majority provinces — Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani — and increasingly in the neighboring province of Songkhla. Violence in the south has increased since a military-installed government took power despite pledges from the prime minister to reverse the iron-fisted approach of his predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, toppled by a coup in September.

Amid all this killing and maiming comes the news that suspected insurgents detained in a raid in the southern province of Narathiwat early Wednesday morning were found to be carrying Malaysian currency. A total of eleven suspects, eight men and three women were arrested and the security forces seized several weapons and components for making bombs. The finger of suspicion of course was pointing to Malaysia. While Malaysians and even the government may feel sympathy towards the plight of fellow Muslims in the restive South and may have given moral support, there is not a shred of evidence that the government has in any way promoted the insurgency raging there.

It is therefore natural and understandable that our Prime Minister rejected any notion of Malaysian involvement in the conflict there when he said that carrying Malaysian currency need not necessarily mean they are Malaysian citizens.

I personally don't think our government would risk damaging relations with fellow ASEAN member, Thailand and face the international consequences of encouraging insurgency. But who knows? Stranger things have happened in this unpredictable world of ours.
Image - Source
An interesting read, HERE
Update 4/5/07 : Malaysia says no spillover from unrest in southern Thailand

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4 Comments:

Blogger kittykat46 said...

I don't think there is any Malaysian government involvement in the insurgency in Southern Thailand. Do many Malaysians in border areas sympathise with the insurgency ? Most Definitely. Are there Malaysians helping the insurgents providing shelter, food, money, transport ? The official government line is "there is no evidence" but in my opinion - Very likely.

The Malaysia Thai border is porous. Its a legacy from the days when Kelantan and Kedah were actually Siamese territory. Many people in border areas have relatives and business associates on the other side. Some still have both Malaysian and Thai Identity cards. There is a lot of daily travel and trade across the border - both legal and illegal.

Along the Kelantan border, its just a simple boat ride across the Golok river. I've seen it so many times with my own eyes. Its often just an old Pakcik/ Makcik, but it could easily have been a terrorist seeking sanctuary in Malaysia, or crossing over to Thailand to start his latest bombing campaign.

Along the Perak and Kedah border, its deep jungle, more difficult territory, but still perfectly possible to cross undetected.

In my opinion the Malaysian government is not doing enough to stamp out this covert help. The top government leaders really need to clearly warn that Malaysians harbouring, aiding and abetting terrorists who have committed or are planning to commit attacks in Thailand are committing a serious crime. No such action has been taken. Where's their much vaunted ISA ? Not one single person has been arrested for complicity to commit terrorism in Thailand.

11:49 AM GMT+8  
Anonymous moo_t said...

IMHO :
Bombs, guns and bullets can't walk to the insurgent. A firearm merchant can't airdrop themselves into the jungle without notice. And guns and bombs need $$$$$$$$.

12:28 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous dzulman said...

The irredentist movements in the provinces of Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani have been going on soon after the 2nd world war ended. As Kittykat46 said the border is porous and for ages the people have been moving in and out of the border as if it is not an international boundary. The people of the 3 provinces are fully aware that they are Thai citizens but on most occasions were not treated as such. The Thai Govt insisted that they are Thai Muslims whereas they insisted that they be recognized as Thai Malays.

Of course the 3 provinces do have their own respective history. They did have their own sultanates. Thai authorities obliterated these respected history. The irredentist movements became militants. They took up arms. To the Thais they are terrorists but to others they are freedom fighters. Just like India which terms the Tamil Tigers as freedom fighters which to Sri Lanka Govt they are terrorists.

The irredents militants or terrorists may slip in and out through the porous border areas. They may get support in term of food and logistic from sympathetic brethrens on the Malaysian side. But to say the Malaysian Govt has anything to do with them is mischievous to say the least or even malicious.

The Thai Govt practices good democracy but their security elements are very vicious and high handed in dealing particularly against the Thai Muslims. The Thais react strongly even on the slightest suspicion.

No level headed Malaysian authority would want to see such atrocities to take place. The Malaysian Govt considers the problem as purely an internal affairs of the Thai govt.

6:35 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rich Arabs such as Saudis give generous monetary donations to the bereaved families of suicide bombers who killed innocents in Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and so on. So it would come as no big surprise that the Thai jihadis would get money and other supplies from sympathetic malaysians in the border areas of Kelantan and Kedah.

12:41 PM GMT+8  

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