The question that begs an answer is where do they go wrong or are they talking and negotiating with the right group to end this conflict.
I served in southern Thailand in the early 1970s as a Special Branch operative under the then Regional Border Committee Office fighting the Communist Party of Malaya threat.
At that time, there was already a conflict between the so-called Pulo members and Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), which was fighting for separation from the kingdom of Thailand.
There were skirmishes and encounters of firepower between the separatists and government forces. There were killings of innocent lives then, but not as great as what is happening now with the bombings in factories, buildings, schools and even the district police headquarters and airport in Hat Yai.
The leaders of Pulo or BRN are now old and in their twilight years; and most have fled overseas. These leaders, in my opinion, do not command the underlings of the current breed of fighters.
The current breed is young and trained in Pakistan, Syria or elsewhere. In light of the current scenario, are we talking and negotiating with the right persons/leaders to end this conflict in southern Thailand ?
If we are talking to the right persons in the peace process, I strongly believe that at the very least, the bombings and killings should have scaled down, but, sadly, it is not to be.
The peace roadmap should be re-evaluated. Identify the right persons for the next roundtable talk. A peaceful southern Thailand will surely benefit the peoples of both sides of the border.
DATUK WEE BENG GEE Petaling Jaya, Selangor