PATTANI: People in the far South have welcomed the cabinet's aproval of the appointment of the first Muslim woman to the position of provincial governor.
Narathiwat deputy governor Pateemoh Sadeeyamu will be the new governor of the province of Pattani.
Her appointment was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday and was cheered in posts on social media by people in the three southernmost Muslim-dominated provinces - Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
Their happiness was shared by people in parts of adjacent Songkhla province, who saw her appointment as a positive sign for security and development in the deep South.
Nithima Lama, a teacher in Rueso district of Narathiwat, was among those who congratulated Ms Pateemoh on her promotion.
"People in the three southern border provinces [of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala] feel that she is their governor," Ms Nithima said.
"It is a dream come true. I am glad. I share the joy of everyone.... Thank you for sending us this Muslim woman governor," said Ropee-ah Doloh, a village-based health volunteer in Pattani.
Ms Pateemoh, 57, is a native of Muang district in Yala and has worked at the Interior Ministry for 29 years.
She has served in the southern provinces of Ranong, Yala and Pattani. Earlier, she was the director of a central administrative office of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre. She was then an assistant governor of Phatthalung province and deputy governor of Narathiwat before her promotion to governor of Pattani
People in southern border provinces are familiar with Ms Pateemoh, and say her past performance has been impressive.
Sama-ae Sa-a, former key figure of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), said he was happy with her promotion and she was a good, kind and capable person.
"I hope that Pattani will develop. I would like Pattani people to cooperate with the governor to make their province a peaceful place, free of all forms of violence, to prove that people in the southern border provinces can guarantee peace and order in the country," he said.