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Towards a durable and peaceful solution

By Isnin Februari 20th, 2012 No Comments

PUTRAJAYA (Feb 20, 2012): Malaysia will work with Thailand in efforts to end the conflict in the restive south which has been going on since 2004.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said Malaysia has agreed to a request by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for assistance and cooperation toward a long term solution for peace in south Thailand.

Speaking after meeting Yingluck today, Najib said both countries have discussed the need to find a long term and durable, peaceful solution for the southern conflict.

“We both agreed that this is a domestic matter for Thailand and the people in the south must not seek for a separate state.

“They must reject violence and extremism. They must be loyal Thai citizens and be loyal to the King of Thailand,” he said after signing a joint statement on general cooperation between the two governments at his office this evening.

He had earlier welcomed Yingluck who was on a one-day official visit here — her maiden visit to Malaysia since assuming the office of prime minister in August last year.

Najib said both countries must endeavour to find workable solutions in terms of greater participation in the economic activities of the people in the south.

He also called for them to have “greater say in some of the matters that are close to their hearts” — such as education, religious and cultural matters, as well as seeking more economic development and opportunities for the south.

According to a non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch, a total of 5,047 people have been killed in the eight-years since separatists resumed their armed campaign to seek independence for three southern Thai provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

Yingluck meanwhile said Thailand welcomes and supports the Global Movement of Moderates, which was initiated by Najib as a mean to combat extremism, adding that her country firmly believes that moderation is the key to peace and development.

“This is reflected in our policies and efforts to resolve the situation of southern border provinces through the adoption of the King’s philosophy of sufficient economy and advice to understand, reach out and develop,” she said.

“As founding members of Asean, we see cooperation as the key to Asean communities building, regional connectivity, peace and prosperity,” said Yingluck.

Najib who described their meeting as fruitful and positive in enhancing the bilateral ties, said it also led to new ways of collaboration towards resolving some long outstanding issues between the two countries.

“We both agree that we should reinvigorate, resuscitate the existing bilateral mechanisms that we established over the years, — like the Joined Commission for Bilateral Cooperation; the Joint Development Strategy for Border Areas; Joint Trade Committee; General Border Committee and our annual consultation between our two leaders,” he said.

Najib added that there were discussions on facilitating the use of passes between the two countries so there will be “free flow of people between our two countries.”

“We also touched on the problems of dual citizenships between our two countries and we agreed that we should compare our databases so we can find resolution to this problem,” he added.

He said they also agreed to enhance the connectivity in the border areas, adding that there are currently two proposals for the construction of a second bridge linking Rantau Panjang – Sungai Golok and Pengkalan Kubor- Takbai.

On trade matters, both governments agreed to look into further cooperation in six areas:
>> the automotive industry;
>> managing the rubber industry in the border areas;
>> operational plans for sustainable food security;
>> operational plans for sustainable energy security;
>> oil and gas; and
>> tourism.

Najib said both countries also agreed to further develop the Halal industry and have tasked respective individuals and agencies to work together.

Thailand is Malaysia’s second largest trading partner in Asean. In 2011, total trade between the two countries was valued at US$22.95 billion (about RM69.4 billion).

Source : The Sun Daily

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