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Issue No. 78, 2004
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Kao Wao Team
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KAO WAO NEWS NO. 78

An electronic newsletter for social justice and freedom in Burma

November 8-25, 2004

READERS’ FRONT

DEPORTATION OR PROTECTION FOR GUERRILLA LEADER

MON COMMUNITY RIGHTS IN THAI VERSION

DETAINED VILLAGERS SEEK HAVEN IN THE EAST

BURMA ARMY: A THOUSAND YEAR OLD WAY OF THINKING

SPEAK BURMESE OR PAY THE PRICE

BURMA ARMY TOLD TO DISARM DKBA TROOPS

DKBA: NEVER SURRENDER TO SPDC

THE DIVERSE MINDSETS OF BURMESE POLITICAL CULTURES

MALAYSIA LEGISLATURE CONDEMNS TAK BAI TRAGEDY


READERS' FRONT

Dear Readers,

We invite comments and suggestions on improvements to Kao-Wao newsletter. With your help, we hope that Kao-Wao News will continue to grow to serve better the needs of those seeking social justice in Burma . And we hope that it will become an important forum for discussion and debate and help readers to keep abreast of issues and news.  We reserve the right to edit and reject articles without prior notification. You can use a pseudonym but we encourage you to include your full name and address.

Regards,

Editor

kaowao@hotmail.com; kaowao_news@yahoo.ca

www.kaowao.org

________________________________

Dear Kao Wao,

The Kao Wao’s webpage Mon version is boring.  I am looking to read more new articles and current events in Mon language in your website but it has not been updated.  It would be great if you can add current news and related issues in Mons.

All the best,

Nai Mon (London, U.K)

________________________________

On Speak Burmese or Pay the Price

If the SPDC keeps up this kind of injustice, the nation will continue to be in civil strife and one day fall to complete RUIN....and when that day comes, Taloke Poke (rotten Chinese) will march in and then all the people will be forced to speak Chinese OR PAY THE PRICE...

WOOT LAIR MAIR!!! (The Wheel of Karma will turn)  If we don't want to pay the price, then we have to get rid of SPDC and restore Freedom, Equality, and Democracy to Each and Every Ethnic Group.

Sincerely,
Yebaw Day

(Via internet discussion)

___________________________________

Racial discrimination with Burman-centric mentality, the regime has been undertaking an ethnic cleansing operation and wiping out the peaceful, loving Mon peoples from their Mon land.

Min Thura Wynn

(Via internet discussion)


DEPORTATION OR PROTECTION FOR GUERRILLA LEADER

(Kao Wao: November 25, 2004)

The fate of Mon guerrilla leader, Nai Pan Nyunt and his spouse, under Thai army custody is unclear on whether they will be deported back to Burma or not.

Colonel Pan Nyunt was reportedly transferred to Karnchanaburi Immigration Detention Centre.  Following a rumor that the HRP leader will be deported back to Burma, the source from the Mon Unity League or MUL said visitors went to see him at the detention center in Karnchanaburi last week and were not permitted by the police officers, being told to come back another time. 

“I was not allowed to see him because the officer who decides if he can have visitors was absent at that time.  The police in charge said to come the next day and not to worry,” said a Mon community leader in Bangkok to Kao Wao over the phone.

The police source, according to MUL leader, said Nai Pan Nyunt's injuries have not completely recovered yet; he needs weekly check ups at the hospital.

Colonel Nai Pan Nyunt broke away from the New Mon State Party with 153 troops and formed the Hongsawatoi Restoration Party (HRP) in November 2001 claiming the cease-fire agreement between the military junta and New Mon State Party was fruitless and resumed fighting against the junta.

The HRP leader escaped with 3 gunshot wounds, one through the neck, after a bloody sabotage near Thailand-Burma’s southern border on September 18, 2004 and was treated at the local hospital in Prachuab Khirikhan Province under custody of the local District officer and Thai army. 

All of his five children and two guards were killed while he and his wife escaped with wounds during the attack, reportedly by the Karen National Union which hasn’t claimed responsibility, and Muslim supporters, at a camp near Prachub Khirikhan Thai border in southern Burma. 


Book Review

MON COMMUNITY RIGHTS IN THAI VERSION

Mon Community Rights (Thai Version): The case of the impact of the gas pipeline towards local community and Mon refugees at Sangkhlaburi District, Kanchanaburi Province was published by Nittham Publishing House (Advanced Law Books Publisher) in Bangkok in March 2004.

With the size of 14.5 x 21 cm, 498 pages and price in Thai Baht 350, this research surveys Mon ethno-history from prehistory to the present; from Dvaravati and Hariphunchai in Thailand to Thaton, Martaban and Pegu kingdoms in Burma until the Mon downfall in 1757; the Mon migrations and settlements in Thailand from Ayutthaya to early Bangkok period.  It also covers Mon culture, tradition, and ways of life in Thailand; the roles of Mon people in Thai history and influences of Mon culture in Thailand, in order to synthesize the concept of Mon community rights, with the help of data from Mon ancient law, Mon literature and interviews with Mon people in the communities.

The book found that Mon community rights are also based on the beliefs in animism and Buddhism. The Mon community entity is formed on the awareness of distinguished identity of the Mon people. The structure of power ideology and relation of community are from the level of the family's House-hold Spirit, the clan's Ancestor Spirit, the Guardian Spirit of the village, the monastery of the group of villages and localities. The Mon Community Rights includes the rights in using language, protection from the community, religious belief, community establishment, community leader election, receiving justice, the right of the first comer, the benefit maker as necessary and the common resource management.

The book surveys the political movements for autonomous rights of the Mon people in Burma, history of Mon settlement in Sangkhlaburi District, Kanchanaburi Province, the Thai-Burma gas pipeline project and its impact to the local Mon community.

It evaluates violations of human rights against the Mon people, on the non-acquisition of Thai nationality, and discrimination practices on Mon refugees. The incidents invoke the call for Thai nationality and official refugee status. The conclusion suggests a policy for the Mon community rights and human rights for Mon refugees in Thailand.

“It is a good information paper for those many Thai Mons who can not read in their language.  The Thai Mons are getting more active and even have the rights to officially learn their language; but it is still a long way to go because many resource (teachers and materials) are needed to revitalize their language,” said a Thai Mon leader in Bangkok.


Over 500 villagers of Paukpinkwin in southern Ye were detained by Burma Army

DETAINED VILLAGERS SEEK HAVEN IN THE EAST

(Reported by Tarragon: November 21, 2004)

Sangkhlaburi – A village headman newly arrived to a Mon refugee camp reported that villagers, suspected as rebel sympathizers, are being held in detention by the Burma Army.

The village headman, along with his family, escaped from the village at night fearing for their lives.  “I told my family that I must leave the village, or I will be killed,” he said during an interview in the camp.

A Buddhist temple, which is also a meeting center and a school for the Mon, has been transformed into a Burma Army base and temporary detention center for the 12 detainees, along with the children are all being held there.  The detainees are not permitted to use mosquito nets when they sleep at night, critical in the malarial infested jungle.

Local source reported the BA has been using the temple for its base for about four months, launching several operations against the Mon armed group.  Held in the detention center at gunpoint, the villagers were fed only one meal a day even though their families had come by to feed them twice a day through the soldiers, the soldiers keep the food for themselves. 

About half of the villagers (over 500) were detained in other places for one day, where there were many mosquitoes and malaria; some of them, mostly children were suffering from malaria and high fever.

A villager spoke to Kao Wao that a young woman from Paukpinkwin is suffering from psychological stress and her newborn baby son is suffering from malaria while being detained at the Burma Army’s temporary camp.  Her parents were not allowed to see her and had to care for her baby who was sick and crying for his mother, said the villager who fled to the border seeking refuge two months ago.

Four villagers confirmed the facts of what he said.

“She is too afraid of Burmese soldiers.  I took her to see the traditional (herbal) doctor in the village and then took her back to the detention center.  Due to duress she is unable to breast-feed her baby, which caused the boy to cry the whole day and the baby is suffering from malaria now,” said the headman.

The State Peace and Development Council, the government of Burma headed by General Than Shwe, accused some villagers of supporting the Mon rebels. The villagers are sometimes tortured and killed if suspected of supporting the rebels, as part of the SPDC’s search and destroy tactics. 

The BA destroyed nine houses belonging to the villagers, as punishment for providing shelter to Mon rebels.

Recently over one hundred villagers fled from the village into an area designated as an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camp under the New Mon State Party control area, while some have fled to border. The village headman last week migrated to Thailand after temporarily staying in the Halockhanee Mon refugee camp.  Some of them sneaked to Thailand and other areas where it’s safe to go. 


Torture, imprisonment and violence against women continue

BURMA ARMY: A THOUSAND YEAR OLD WAY OF THINKING

Three villagers, suspected as rebel sympathizers, have been sentenced to seven years in jail and a young man was brutally beaten to death in the prison after the SPDC claimed they were rebel supporters.

The BA also killed Mr. Nai Chit Htwe age 35, who was the SPDC officer of Transportation Department. He was in charge of the railway station in the village.

According to the headman, he was accused of being a Mon rebel supporter for he was a Mon nationality even though he was the government civil servant.

During the past nine months the SPDC has been staying in the village. The BA joined in with the village headmen and collected 1,800,000 Kyats in taxes, say two women who arrived at the border, who spoke under condition of anonymity to Kao Wao during an interview.  The two women secretly fled from their village, leaving their children behind in the village.

Ms. Mi Chan (not real name), age 14, was raped and wounded in the arm while trying to escape from the BA soldiers who threatened her with a knife. She was raped at her own house at about 8 p.m local time; the headman quoted her mother as saying. Some say the perpetrator is a captain, but some say they didn’t know who the perpetrator was.

“The young girl shouted and the villagers including me went to rescue her,” an eye witness said.

One of the two women from a different group say that another woman Ms. Mi Tar (not real name), age 16, was also raped after being taken away for three days from her house.

“I am reluctant to visit her because she was upset in her house, she didn’t dare to visit even her neighbors (likely because she had been raped, villagers look down on rape victims, and the victims are too ashamed to face them),” said the woman who is Tar’s friend and also a neighbor.

However, the village headman said he couldn’t confirm that Tar was raped even though her friend said it was the case. “The village headman was wrong, I am sure she was raped,” Ms. Htay added.

Local witness said the victim was accused of being the girlfriend of a Mon armed guerrilla.  Her mother told the BA Captain Ba Lay not to harass her daughter, then the Captain reacted angrily shouting at her, “Do you want a life sentence punishment?” 

To escape being raped by the BA soldiers, some of the young women fled to safer areas, one of the five families from another part of northern Yebyu Township are now secretly staying on Thai soil. They arrived here last week and spoke to Kao Wao.

Many local Mon people who cannot speak Burmese were fined and tortured as punishment.

“Ms Mi Soila (not real name) age 21, fled from the village after she was taken by the soldiers one night as punishment for not speaking Burmese,” Ms Mi Yin said. Her mother, she said, told her to flee from the village for fear of being raped in the future.

“If we speak to them in the Mon (language) when the soldiers asked in Burmese then we are fined and punished, such as carrying heavy loads on our heads,” says an old woman, Mrs Mi Day who recently arrived onto Thai soil.

Local villagers reported the BA soldiers punished the villagers for not speaking back in Burmese.


SPEAK BURMESE OR PAY THE PRICE

(November 19, 2004, Taramon/ Sangkhlaburi)

Refugees who recently fled to Thai Burma border reported that Mon people who cannot speak Burmese were discriminated and abused by the Burma Army during its military operation against the ethnic armed group.

“The villagers who could not answer questions in Burmese demanded by the State Peace and Development Council’s soldiers were taken to a military base and freed after being drilled over and over to speak many times in Burmese,” says an elder woman, Mrs. Mi Mon (not her real name) from a group of five families who left her village in southern Ye and have arrived onto Thai soil near the border last week.

When asked what kinds of questions the BA usually asked, she said that the soldiers wanted to know what food or curry was cooked, they would come around to the houses during the cooking hours.

A young woman, Miss Mi Soila was taken to the army base because she couldn’t speak or even understand the Burmese when a soldier asked her what kind of curry she was cooking, said the elder woman who arrived to the Thai border with her grandchildren.  Mrs. Mi Yin of the group agreed with the elder woman’s claim.

Mrs. Mi Htay (not her real name) from Wae Kwao village who is now staying in the Halockhanee Mon Refugee camp said that her nephew was punished for not speaking Burmese properly and ordered to clear grass and bushes after he didn’t understand a question in Burmese asked by soldiers while traveling outside the village.

Some of the villagers, Htay said, were fined between 100,000 and 300,000 Kyats (Burmese currency) for not being able to speak Burmese. They were accused of supporting the Hongsawatoi Restoration Party (HRP), Mon armed group, for they did not reply to answers shouted by soldiers.  “The BA accused the villagers of being keep secret for pretend as cannot speak Burmese and many have been tortured because they cannot speak Burmese language,” she added.

A village headman of Wae Kwao (Paukpinkwin) from Ye Byu Township, Tenasserim Division told Kao Wao that most of the villagers in southern Ye area cannot speak Burmese and the assimilation policy is used by the SPDC soldiers while staying in the villages.  He and his family fled from the village to escape from being killed for he was accused as a Mon armed group sympathizer. He said that the SPDC in Ye township, Mon state, deployed troops to capture him and villagers during his trip to the border.

Civilians in this area rarely have any citizenship cards or ID cards since the immigration officers cannot go into this area. Many villages in southern Ye and Ye Byu area is defined by the SPDC as a Black Area (free-fire zone) and they also lost the chance to vote in the general election in 1990.


Relationship between Burma Army and cease-fired group

BURMA ARMY TOLD TO DISARM DKBA TROOPS

(By Shah Paung/ Irrawaddy: November 25, 2004)

The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army, or DKBA, said on Thursday it had intercepted a message indicating that the Burma Army intended to confiscate its weapons.

According to DKBA Maj Saw Lay Win, the intercepted message said Burmese forces would “start to confiscate our weapons on November 25.”

Maj Saw Lay Win said the DKBA would refuse to give up its weapons. “We will fight them (government forces) back,” he vowed.

Maj Saw Lay Win’s DKBA forces, deployed near Three Pagodas Pass, Karen State, have had skirmishes in the past with Burmese troops.

In 1995, the DKBA broke away from the Karen National Union, or KNU, and agreed a cease-fire with Rangoon.

Maj SawLay Win said there had been no official word from Rangoon on any plan to confiscate DKBA weapons, but Burma Army movements in his area had increased.


DKBA: NEVER SURRENDER TO SPDC

(Taing Taw, November 14, 2004)

Democratic Karen Buddhist Army says that it will fight against SPDC in response to a rumor that the DKBA must give up their arms to the military junta.

Captain Lay Winn of the DKBA at the Three Pagodas Pass said that the SPDC forced its party to draw up a list of its arms and members and give it to them, a Mon politician quoted Lay Winn as saying.

He says that Lay Winn had looked at the probable area of confrontation, which is about three, or four kilometers from the Thai Burma border town in preparation to fight back when its troops were pressured to give up their arms.  Karen National Union (KNU), he added, is also being deployed around the area, which is not so far from the Three Pagodas Pass.

Reflecting the tense nature of relationship after General Khin Nyunt and MI (Military Intelligence) were dismissed, the Burma Army commander in the Three Pagodas Pass has threatened Lay Winn and the DKBA group on a number of occasions, says another resident.

“Lay Winn was forced not to join a religious ceremony while the (Burma Army) Commander was there,” says the resident to Kao Wao under condition of anonymity.

Secretary 1, Lieutenant Generals Thein Sein and Mauna Bo, the chief commanders of the southern Burma command and other ministers, called on the cease-fire groups in Southern Burma two days ago to talk about the condition of the cease-fire agreements.

New Mon State Party (NMSP) liaison office in Sangkhlaburi said that its leaders including Vice-President General Htaw Mon recently met the SPDC leaders to talk about the process of the cease-fire agreement.  “The SPDC told our leaders not to change the truce process because of the ousting of Prime Minister Khin Nyunt,” Chief Liaison Officer Mr. Nai Ong Shein said.

Today, the leaders of Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and the SPDC met in the capital of Karen state.


The second part series on the role of the military and civil society in Burma

THE DIVERSE MINDSETS OF BURMESE POLITICAL CULTURES

(By Banya Hongsar, Canberra, Australia)

Can only the Burman (SPDC or Tadmadaw) maintain the Union of Burma and keep the nation strong in the future?  However, the SPDC has controlled power for over fifteen years, with little military might and political treaties by its opponents. The SPDC knows that the NLD cannot defeat them unless Daw Suu leads the campaign, and the ethnic armed groups have very limited resources to launch a military strike against Rangoon to defeat them.  After over sixteen armed groups reached cease-fire agreement with the SPDC, the SPDC mastered its political campaign to be accepted in ASEAN and won a place within the grouping. The SPDC’s military men persuaded UN and EU mission representatives that the country is in the process of turning over a new leaf.  The interest of Burma / Myanmar is to keep the "Union" strong and unified among all nationalities or “races”. But the international community is ill informed about the real situation in Burma, as there is no unity within the country. The SPDC played "a kiss with no love" hard to get tricky game to the UN missions and won.

A clash of dogmatic ideologies, the lack of a political will, no vision in the making, and self-serving political individuals who are entirely motivated by power are at the root of all the problems in the country. All there energy is spent on maintaining their status in the game, with the SPDC holding onto its rigid policy in playing an active role in power politics and the NLD holding steadfast to its mandate on the popular 1990 election results.  The UNLD+UNA remain glued to its policy of self-determination and federalist political agenda.  The exile and border based political and armed organizations waste a lot of their time clinging to its political goal in toppling the SPDC and military rule in the country. However, no political mindset has been installed that encompasses everyone’s motivations about community life and no massive campaign has taken place to achieve a consensus and reach for a common goal for the people. As a consequence, people suffer, with no end in site of poverty, displacement, ongoing conflict, lack of economic freedom and the lack of health and education programs for the community. People are not informed at all or are part of any decision making that goes on when foreign aid comes in, as none have been invited to give their opinions on the local, national and State’s political affairs, whether it be on AIDS, housing, education, etc.

A new mindset and simple politics:   Like it or not, a new political mindset on Burma is not a democracy cited from the pages of a US or western journal.  A single, but diverse mindset is needed, voiced by the local people, community leaders, men and women in the country, who are informed about and involved in the decision making process must be part of democracy building in the country, civilians ought to rule other civilians, not the military.  Military men ought to live in military camp and be trained to protest the people, such as external threats and be prepared to come to the rescue of the country during natural disasters, for example when mass flooding wipes out tracts of villages.  The police force must be motivated to maintain the rule of law for the good of the people and the administrative body ought to serve the needs of the public on education, health, employment and economic development. 

Unless all Burmese people have access to adequate schools, clinics, hospitals, shopping centers, the Internet, recreational sporting halls and other community institutions such as libraries, transportation and housing, water supply and electricity, none of the political ideology is best served by the community.  A new mindset ought to begin individually and collectively, the SPDC, the NLD and NDF+NCUB, led by ethnic leaders, ought to bring a new vision of hope to the local communities that promote economic and resource management, infrastructure and forest community development projects and bring to the book all injustices committed by Burma's soldiers, and insurgent groups and Tadmadaw members.

Community leaders must make it their top priority to move the reform agenda forward, bring together the SPDC, NLD and NCUB leaders to begin a dialogue on the political future of the country. Of course, the role of civil society groups and the rights of all people must be protected by a new Constitution. A big, top-heavy government is an ineffective government while a small government is much better at nation building being informed by the grass roots. Unless the role of non-military men and women, students, businessmen, religious leaders and local traders take center stage in nation building, our country will be weak and development will be hindered.  No military led government, dominated by one party has ever achieved prosperity and lacks the national capacity to maintain good governance. For example, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao and Indonesia are all poor countries and people continue to live under a “climate of fear” for many years. A functional change is not in the interest of Burmese politics but an institutional change would be in the national interest of Burmese politics.

U Aung Zaw, Editor of the Irrawaddy Magazine, declared at the Burma Debate in 2000, “I think that the democracy movement needs to be more critical. We need more critical thinkers, more open minded Burmese who want to promote democracy in Burma.”  His message remains on paper while many activists continue to stick to their narrow political mindsets.

Starting from Scratch?

To introduce a new political mindset in the community, public and private education, health system, financial and economic management, public administration and all forms of public services should be placed into the hands of local civilians.  Politicians and army-affiliated personnel should be willing to work with the people or step aside and find alternative employment for a living. A framework of democracy and federalism is required to promote community living and an independent media is a crucial tool to support this cause. There are hundreds and thousands of books and journals on Burma written in English while there are only a few books available in local languages for local people to learn, teach, and study to bring about change in their country. In brief, Burma failed to maintain its first parliamentary democracy in 1950-60s; again it failed to achieve the “Burmese Way to socialism" in the 1970-1980s. During a clash of ideologies among Burman's political elites, communism also collapsed in the country despite it gaining some support by local people. A new form of democratization is required in a broader sense that encompasses human rights and the right for self-determination for all non-Burman and Burman nationalities. We must ask ourselves, “Why is the military so resistant to learning to change?” The military men, politicians and community leaders (from all sides) need to rethink what kind of nation do they want to bring to Burma in the 21st century and beyond, we must all start again. 

Hundreds of thousands of armed resistances forces, political activists, human right’s workers, journalists, and workers from all walks of life have to be prepared to work together for a new campaign in the country.  A campaign to achieve a "just Burma" which meets our national interests on peace, equality, and tolerance in all political circles. No military man should be allowed to rule the nation forever and the people in the House of Assembly or Parliament should not tolerate a political elite bent on power.  The Burman is best served for the Burman community, while the Karen, Karenni, Mon, Shan, Arakan, Chin, Kachin and other ethnic peoples are best served by their own people, but the country as a whole should have a vision for the inclusion of all ethnic people.

No peace without equality, no harmony without tolerance, no unity without respect and no democracy without freedom of expression. The SPDC, the NLD and other politicians and leaders of all organizations have to heal all their wounds of the past and retreat from the disease of ideology and rein in their egos in clinging to power by way of the divide and rule policy. The SPDC and its friend the military stand guard in almost every street corner which creates fear that suppresses public confidence. Leaders of all parties (army leaders and political leaders alike) ought to lift up the spirits of their fellow citizens to take a more active role in local, national, and regional affairs in working together in creating a new policy, agenda, and framework that will work for their people. If leaders don’t listen to their followers or if the government does not care about the people’s opinion, then society will die and our future will be sorrowful.

From the table to the grass-root community activities

Over the last fifteen years, hundreds of seminars, conferences, training, and workshops have been conducted on Burma both in Thailand and overseas. Burmese experts, observers, policy makers, and NGOs workers, have learned how complex Burmese politics and its cultures are, that it involves several different histories and psychological aspects of Burmese history which never had considered the rights of people for over a thousand years. Hundreds of demonstrations took place in Bangkok and in exile communities around the world, "Free Burma" campaigns in the US and Europe has been actively and successfully working for change. Rangoon based foreign diplomats predict for better or worse scenario between SPDC-NLD relations. Meanwhile, students, Buddhist monks, and other religious leaders were suppressed in the political movement in the country. Corrupt and inept officials involved in trade both in the rural areas and along the border have flourished in public administration that have put children and women and all people at risk; everyone fears for their lives, women and young girls are being killed and raped, atrocities denied by the Senior General Than Shwe and his government soldiers.

Burma, in the next ten years remains unchanged unless a new political mindset emerges in community life.  The military has proven to be unchangeable; the nation needs a flexible political framework as a tool to serve the community and all facets of the community and all ethnic groups.  The role of local councils, the power status of the State Government, a new legislation for Provisional governments, and a framework for a genuine Union or "Federal Union" are all necessary elements to bring change and justice. Politicians, military men and local community leaders ought to see the bigger picture in national and international affairs. A growing population, a declining national GDP (Gross Domestic Products), along with more and more people living in poverty, and transnational crime in the region has emerged in recent years. We need the people to work together to strengthen the Burmese political and social environments to meet these challenges. The Burmese people have to ask each other, “Do we want to live together peacefully or do we want to kill each other,” before they go to bed at night.

Citizens of Burma (all nationalities) have to be active participants in political life and leaders of all parties must encourage the local people to develop their skills in politics.  An open society and a tolerant within the community are required to install democracy, it is foolhardy and disastrous for our country to think that a single political party leader or army commander can ever hope to achieve unity and feed over fifty million people in today’s global society.

End of Part Two


In the Region

MALAYSIA LEGISLATURE CONDEMNS TAK BAI TRAGEDY

(The Nation: November 25, 2004)

The Malaysian Parliament yesterday condemned the security crackdown that lead to the deaths of 85 Thai Muslims in Narathiwat’s Tak Bai district last month.

“The (Malaysian) Parliament endorsed a motion proposed by Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS) party that condemned the aggressive use of power in Narathiwat province that led to numerous deaths among Muslims. We join the international community in condemning the incident,” the Malay-language newspaper, Berita Harian, reported.

A PAS MP, Syed Hasman, said that the motion was proposed because Muslims in the southern provinces of Thailand had a close relationship with Muslims in Malaysia.

The crackdown had affected the feeling of Malaysians, particularly those living in border states, Syed said, “because they viewed that Muslims were persecuted by the crackdown”.

Passing the motion did not constitute interference in Thailand’s internal affairs, Syed said, “because we regarded it as a humanitarian issue”.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Sihasak Phuangketkeow, meanwhile, said the endorsement of the motion was an internal issue for Malaysia, adding that the Malaysian government understood the situation following the Thai government’s explanation.

Sihasak told the BBC that Malaysia was aware that the Thai government was waiting for a report from a government-established investigation panel.

He said the Thai government has asked Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar to postpone their trip to Thailand to gather information about the Tak Bai killings.

The Malaysian ministers said earlier that they wished to meet Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to discuss the incident.

“We would like to give the time and opportunity for our investigation panel to gather information and evidence,” Sihasak said.

“To get the information the Malaysian ministers want, they do not have to come to Thailand; we have channels to provide what they want.”


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KAO WAO NEWS GROUP

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ABOUT US

Kaowao Newsgroup is committed to social justice, peace, and democracy in Burma . We hope to be able to provide more of an in-depth analysis that will help to promote lasting peace and change within Burma . Editors, reporters, writers, and overseas volunteers are dedicated members of the Mon activist community based in Thailand

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