Muslims in peace talks urge Fridays be made holidays
The head of a government team negotiating peace in the South will consider a proposal by local Muslim representatives to make every Friday a state holiday across the kingdom.
Gen Wallop Raksanoh, chief of the team, said on Sunday the representative asked for the government to declare Friday, already a holy day for Muslims, as a public holiday and rewrite village signs in Thai, Malay and English to open doors to Asean.
He said the representative also asked for the Malay language to be declared as the official language of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla provinces. The four provinces border with Malaysia, Thailand's southern neighbour.
Gen Wallop revealed the request after attending a meeting in Pattani's Nong Chik district with local Muslim representatives from the four provinces. He said the meeting was held to receive the proposal and listen to residents.
At the meeting, the representatives proposed people familiar with Islamic practices be put in charge of pilgrimage affairs, the drafting of Islamic laws for the four provinces and the development of a Halal industry.
Lt Gen Pornsak Poolsawat, the 4th Army Commander, said the meeting was a breakthrough, adding a committee will be formed to study the proposal in detail.