Chalerm: No terrorism in Thailand
published : 6 Dec 2012 at 16:19
writer: Online Reporters
There is no terrorism in Thailand, just political demonstrations and the insurgency in the deep South, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said on Thursday.
Chalerm Yubamrung (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Mr Chalerm was commenting on the report of the Australian Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) that ranked Thailand eighth in a global list of 158 countries where terrorism has had the most impact in the past decade. The index takes into account the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities, injuries and damage.
"There have been more political protests recently and they might lead to this kind of understanding," the deputy premier in charge of security affairs said.
He said he was confident that the immigration and public security police and other security agencies were still working efficiently.
He said the US once claimed that members of the Hezbollah militant group had entered Thailand and he told the US that it would not be a problem because the government had the Immigrant Act to deal with the issue.
The US did not believe the government. But when the truth was out, it was not what the US embassy understood, he added.
"Thailand is not yet the land of terrorism because we're a Buddhist country, we don't take sides and we're friends with everyone.
"We don't treat our neighbouring countries differently and therefore I'm not worried about the [terrorism] news," Mr Chalerm said.
On the continuing unrest in Thailand's southern border provinces, he said the insurgents had an idea of separating the far South from the country and misunderstood that people in the region were continually being mistreated by authorities.
The IEP might combine the political protests and the southern violence in the country into one issue and consider it terrorism, he said.
"If the media stops presenting news about the southern unrest, the situation would improve. Today, people in the three southernmost provinces and four districts of Songkhla province are not scared of the unrest but the news are making people in Bangkok and other places scared of the South.
"Even though I've not yet visited the South, I'm working closely with the national police chief and provincial police chiefs and I'm talking to them on the phone every week," the deputy prime minister said.
A Thai soldier inspects a burnt down classroom building at a school in Pattani province on Nov 29. (EPA photo)
Concerning the closure of schools in Narathiwat province due to safety concerns, Mr Chalerm said there were some ways to improve the situation.
The budget and equipment for state officials working in the deep South had to be sufficient and there must also be adequate welfare and measures to boost their morale, he said.
According to report from Thairath.com, some schools in Narathiwat remained closed in wake of recent teacher killings, as a group of local teachers had proposed five measures for the government to implement to ensure their safety.
Sanguan Indhrarak, president of the Teachers' Federation in Narathiwat, said that from a meeting with all 369 schools in the province, the federation is planning to demand five measures to Education minister Pongthep Thepkanjana.
These included the ministry must reconsider teachers’ transfer requests which have previously been rejected, to relocate Buddhist teachers to city areas, to form security force units to ensure teachers’ safety at tambon-level, to provide extra protection for individuals’ teachers if requested. Last, the group is demanding for all schools in the province to be closed on Dec 6 and 7 as their administrators have to attend a meeting with the education minister in Pattani province.
The report said many schools, mostly those in populated areas, have already reopened after receiving complaint from parents that their children’s education has been affected by the repeatedly closures during the academic year.