Thaksin’s threat to walk out of Vientiane ASEAN Summit if the Tak Bai massacre is raised most unbecoming of a Thai Premier and ASEAN leader, which can only undermine the bid by the Thai Government for its Foreign Minister to succeed Kofi Annan as UN Secretary-General
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament House, Friday): The threat by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to walk out of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane next week if the Tai Bak massacre in South Thailand last month is raised is most unbecoming of a Thai Premier and ASEAN leader, which can only undermine the bid by the Thai Government for its Foreign Minister, Surakiart Sathirathai to succeed Kofi Annan as United Nations Secretary-General.
The Thai Premier’s outburst is most unfortunate, as Thailand had been regarded as one of the more progressive nations in ASEAN which had shown greater understanding and concern for human rights and rejection of the self-serving argument by authoritarian governments which had sought to justify their human rights violations under the pretext of “sovereign domestic rights” – which has become most untenable in the new era of international relations accepting the principle of the universality and indivisibility of human rights.
At the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit in Santiago last week, the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell raised the situation of South Thailand, in particular the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat with the Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai. Surakiart did not walk out of his meeting with Colin Powell, but instead explained the Thai government’s position.
Why should Thaksin now threaten to walk out of the ASEAN Summit if leaders from other ASEAN countries raise the issue of the continuing unrest, violence and bloodshed involving Muslims and Buddhists at the Vientiane ASEAN Summit?
In fact, Malaysian leaders are duty bound to ask Thaksin to explain his statement yesterday claiming that the Malaysian Parliament motion deploring the Tai Bak massacre and the continuing violence in South Thailand as being primarily the result of the instigation of a Malaysian opposition party, and that he had come to an understanding with the Malaysian government over the Malaysian Parliament’s criticisms.
Thaksin said that he had spoken by telephone to Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had assured him that the government had already reprimanded the Opposition for its remarks.
This is news to everyone in Malaysia. Nobody in Malaysia, whether in Malaysian Parliament or outside, is aware of any such “reprimand” by the Prime Minister for the Opposition. There should be clarification by the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Thailand on such a bizarre claim by the Thai Prime Minister.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman