PUTRAJAYA – Thailand recognises Malaysia’s role in the southern Thailand peace process and has vowed to give a firm commitment towards the effort, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Monday.
Speaking to Malaysian reporters after hosting a luncheon in honour of visiting Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at Seri Perdana here, he said Malaysia and Thailand also agreed on three basic principles with regard to the peace effort.
Najib said the three principles were a period of no violence; all parties being represented in the peace talks and all parties in southern Thailand agreeing to one united demand to be put forward to the Thai government.
“Based on the three principles, Malaysia will continue (the peace process) and the Thai government has stated categorically that Malaysia is the only country that they will work with on the peace process,” he said.
Gen Prayut is on a one-day official visit to Malaysia. Earlier, Najib and Jen Prayut had a four-eyed meeting and a delegation meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Perdana Putra Building, here.
Elaborating on the three principles, Najib said that firstly there must be a period of no violence and respect for the law.
If the parties in the south respected the law, then these parties had nothing to fear, he said, adding that Gen Prayut said the army could even reduce its presence in the south if violence was discontinued.
“Secondly, we agreed that it is important that not just one party but all parties be represented in the peace process,” he said, adding that Malaysia and Thailand would try to talk to all parties in the south, not just one or two groups.
Thirdly, all demands would be collated and put up as one united demand, he said. In other words, all the parties must agree to the list of demands or requests that they wished to put forward to the Thai government, he added.
“That (united demand) would be the basis of starting the actual substantive negotiations with the Thai government,” he said.
Najib said Malaysia and Thailand would reinvigorate the peace process and restart the efforts based on the three principles.
Asked about the time frame for the peace process, he said it was hard to put a time frame for such an effort.
“When you sit down and discuss such complex matters, it will take time. It is important that we give them impetus based on these three principles,” he added.
On terrorists using border passes to enter either country, Najib said the relevant ministers in the two countries had been tasked to work out a means to combat the matter.
“Malaysia and Thailand have agreed to work to strengthen cooperation in addressing the problem of extremism and militancy,” he said.
On dual citizenship, Najib said Malaysia and Thailand agreed to resolve the long-standing problem.
“There is not much movement. In this regard, I did express our (Malaysia) need and desire to work closely to resolve this problem,” he said.
Najib described his discussions with Prayut as productive and having covered various aspects of bilateral relations.
“We both agreed that the state of bilateral relations remains very strong, but we should look at ways to strengthen our cooperation,” he said. – Bernama