Malaysian PM Anwar Ibrahim has pledged to support Thailand in finding a peaceful solution to the ongoing insurgency in the Deep South. The conflict, which has resulted in over 7,300 deaths since 2004, is being fought between Thai forces and separatist groups seeking independence for the predominantly Muslim and ethnically Malay provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and parts of Songkhla.
Speaking on a visit to Bangkok yesterday, PM Anwar stated that although the insurgency is an internal issue for Thailand, Malaysia is willing to assist in finding a peaceful resolution. He emphasised the importance of both countries working together to address the issue.
“It is our duty as good neighbours and family to do whatever is required and necessary to facilitate the process.”
For his part Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha has welcomed the cooperation, saying it will help address tensions in the affected provinces through greater economic development and improved connectivity between both countries. The main insurgency group involved in talks with the Thai government, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, did not comment on the visit.
Malaysia has played a role in facilitating peace talks between the separatists and the Thai government since 2013, though the process has been disrupted at times. Talks resumed again last year, following a two-year hiatus as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.