Thaksin’s sensational allegation that Malaysia is haven of South Thailand Muslim separatists and terrorists unbecoming of Thai Prime Minister, most irresponsible and un-ASEAN


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The sensational allegation by the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra that Malaysia is a haven of South Thailand Muslim separatists and terrorists is unbecoming of a Thai Prime Minister, most irresponsible and un-ASEAN. 

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is right in expressing regret and shock at Thaksin’s outburst and to demand that his Thai counterpart produce proof to substantiate his allegation.  If Thaksin cannot publicly substantiate his allegation, he should withdraw his slur against Malaysia and apologise for his indiscretion. 

There are probably two explanations for Thaksin’s most uncharacteristic conduct for a Thai Prime Minister, making light of the bonds that have developed between the two governments in the past decades: 

  • Firstly, a reckless misuse of the power and position of Thai Prime Minister with a cynical eye to garner votes in the upcoming Thai general election on February 6, by thumping the nose of the Malaysian Prime Minister.
  • Secondly, a “tit-for-tat” in taking umbrage at the urgent motion last month by the Malaysian Parliament on the South Thailand situation and the formation of an all-party  parliamentary caucus on South Thailand, regarding  both as unacceptable interference in the domestic affairs of Thailand.

It will be a  major diplomatic faux pax if it is the former and an act of  gross folly if the latter.

Thaksin should learn that in the modern era, human rights is universal and indivisible, and national sovereignty does not extend to the sovereign right to violate human rights.  ASEAN governments and leaders must learn to accept scrutiny of their human rights record, not only by the international community but also by neighbouring ASEAN countries. 

I for one would welcome Thai interest and concern at human rights violations in Malaysia, and I would be very happy to see the formation of a Thai parliamentary caucus on human rights in Malaysia, as the time has come for ASEAN governments and parliamentarians to accept that we have a common interest to work towards a new benchmark for  ASEAN  human rights as one of the prerequisites to the realization  of the ASEAN Community, the subject of so many statements and  declarations by ASEAN Summits and Ministerial meetings.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman