> Carnets

Policies of the Thai State Towards the Malay Muslim South (1978-2010)

Arnaud Dubus et Sor Rattanamanee Polkla
Irasec, Bangkok, juin 2011, 112 p.
ISBN : 978-616-7571-00-3
English Language English text

It was one of these landmark special programs at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, on the top floor of the Maneeya Centre Building, in the upscale commercial heart of Bangkok, where Major General Pichet Wisaijorn was the exclusive guest speaker on that evening of November 2009. Many of the journalists, both Thai and Foreign, were present and Khun Roong and the other staff at the bar were working non-stop, dropping pizza here and glasses of dark beer there. Expectations were high. Pichet was the Fourth Army Region commander, which includes the three “problematic provinces” of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, plus a few unruly districts in the Songkhla province. Since 2003, thousands of people, rubber tappers, insurgents, traders, school teachers, civil servants, police officers, military personnel and some foreigners had been killed in a maelstrom of violence linked to what was officially called the “separatist insurgency” by the authorities as well as linked to the mafia culture prevailing in this region. The trafficking of women, drug peddling, extortion, smuggling of palm oil and cheap electronic items from Malaysia have always been rife in the deep South. This mafia culture is prevailing in many of Thailand’s 77 provinces, but the total breakdown of law and order in the South makes it worse.

Many in the audience were thinking that General Pichet would deliver some answers to the most important questions which have puzzled journalists, businessmen and other residents for years: who leads the insurgency? What are their objectives? How the movement is structured, or is it even structured at all? What is the division of power between the Southern Border Provincial Administrative Committee, the armed forces, the local administration and the central government? Have there been any attempts to negotiate with the insurgents? But the presentation of Pichet was rather disappointing. What is the direction of their policy? Pichet repeated the royally endorsed recipe: khao chai, khao teung, pattana (“understand, reach out and develop”). With its supreme and unquestioned wisdom, this “magic formula” is supposed to throw the listeners in deep awe and reverence. But the mantra had long become a poor PR tool to answer the questions of journalists and diplomats on field visits in sam changwat pak tai, the three provinces of the South.


   Read the book


Table of Contents


The Authors


Chapter One - Historical Background and Organizational Framework

1 - The Historical Context and the Seven Demands of Haji Sulong

2 - The Administrative, Political and Religious Structures between the Central and the Local Levels

2.1 - The Political-Administrative Framework
2.2 - The Religious Framework
2.3 - Development and Security: the SBPAC and the CPM Task Force 43


Chapter Two - The National Security Policy (1978-1998)

1 - The Policy Documents

1.1 - National Security Policy on the Southern Border Provinces of 1978
1.2 - National Security Policy on the Southern Border Provinces of 1988
1.3 - National Security Policy on the Southern Border Provinces of 1994

2 - Analysis of the Policies’ Implementation


Chapter Three - The National Security Policy (1999-2003)

1 - The Policy Document

1.1 – Overview
1.2 - Detailed Analysis

2 - Analysis of the Policy’s Implementation


Chapter Four - The South under Thaksin Shinawatra’s Governments (2001-2006)

1 - The Policy Documents

1.1 - The National Security Policy (2003-2006)
1.2 - Confidential Policy Document (June 2006)

2 - Analysis of the Policies’ Implementation

2.1 - The Attack against the Network Monarchy
2.2 - Reaction of the Network Monarchy and Thaksin’s Adjustment
2.3 - The Emergency Decree and its Consequences


Chapter Five - The South after Thaksin’s Governments (2006-2010)

1 - Surayud Chulanont’s Government (2006-2007)

1.1 - The Policy Documents
1.2 - Analysis of the Policy’s Implementation

2 - Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Government (2008-2011)

2.1 - Policy Statement
2.2 - Analysis of the Policy’s Implementation


Chapter Six - The Civil Society Perspective

1 - The Strategic Non-Violence Commission
2 - A Proposal of “Special Local Governance”




The Authors


Arnaud DUBUS has been working in Thailand since 1989 as a correspondent for Radio France Internationale, the French daily, Libération and the Swiss daily, Le Temps. Arnaud has been following the situation in Southern border provinces since 1993 and has written several Thai cultural books, among which are Armée du Peuple, Armée du Roi (with Nicolas Revise, Irasec/L’Harmattan, 2002) and Thaïlande. Histoire, société, culture (La Découverte, 2011).

Sor Rattanamanee POLKLA is a lawyer working in the Human rights field since 2001. Rattanamanee has been especially involved with justice issues in the Southern border provinces and is the coordinator of Community Resource Centre (CRC), an NGO based in Thailand which is a local partner of the Asian Human Right Commission (AHRC) based in Hong Kong. She graduated from the Faculty of Law at Thammasat University, Bangkok.