New concern on Malaysia

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej of Thailand is heading for Malaysia on March 18 — and it may turn out to be something more than the courtesy call it was originally scheduled to be.

In elections on Saturday, Malaysian voters doubled the Islamist state governments hard on the Thai border, from one to two. By putting a government controlled by the Islamist Parti Islam seMalaysia (aka Pas) in charge of Kedah state Malaysia now has vastly increased its semi-hostile presence on the southern Thai border.

On the map, the dark green provinces are now under Pas control. Kelantan (on the right) has long been an Islamist state, and now Kedah adds a significant amount of Thai border areas to the Pas neighbourhood. Not only does it add a lot of Yala province, but it also means that Islamists now will border directly onto Songkhla and Satun provinces. These have been largely (Satun completely) peaceful. Until now.

Samak said last Friday (March 7) that “according to new information, the insurgency in the southern border provinces has been carried out by people from outside the country.” That only means one country, and it also only means one thing — trouble in Thai-Malaysian relations again if Samak pushes this one inch when he meets counterpart Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Kuala Lumpur next week.

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