During a recent election debate in Songkhla’s Muang district, Deputy leader Nipon Boonyamanee declared that a Democrat government would prioritize establishing peace in the three southern border provinces, which have experienced over 7,000 deaths related to insurgency since 2004. Nipon emphasized that negotiations, rather than ongoing military expenditure, are vital to achieving this goal.
“We must first bring about peace,” Nipon stated, asserting that the Democrats firmly believe in the necessity of holding peace talks with dissident groups. He criticized previous Thai governments, including the current Prayut Chan-o-cha administration, for maintaining strict martial law in the region while failing to address the needs and concerns of the majority Malay Muslim population.
In addition to pursuing diplomatic solutions, Nipon explained that a Democrat government would focus on reducing poverty to facilitate peace in the deep South. He observed that although the area now has adequate educational facilities, many local graduates relocate to Malaysia for employment opportunities. To address this issue, the Democrats would implement job-creation initiatives aimed at retaining these skilled individuals within their home provinces.
For instance, Nipon said that a Democrat government would ease legal constraints on fishermen in Pattani and Narathiwat, empowering them to earn a livelihood. Additionally, the government would allocate 100,000 baht per year to each local fishing association to support the development of their fisheries. In Yala, financial aid would be provided to farmers to cultivate durians and transform the border province into a flourishing agricultural hub.
These initiatives would be bolstered by the Democrats’ proposed economic policy, which plans to inject one trillion baht from unspent state funds into the economy. Furthermore, Nipon revealed that a Democrat government would establish a bank in each community, complete with two-million-baht funding, to support local businesses and guarantee crop prices. This comprehensive approach, combining peace negotiations and economic development, is designed to usher in a new era of stability and prosperity for the southern border provinces.