Thais form Muslim Party

Thai Muslim leaders plan to form a Muslim Party to represent Thailand's four million Muslims, especially in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Thais form Muslim Party

A group of Thai Muslim leaders plan to form a Muslim Party to represent Thailand's four million Muslims, especially in the restive southern provinces, Bernama reported.

The Muslim Party, likely to be called Ruam Thai Muslim or United Thai Muslim, is expected to be launched within two months. A former commerce minister is expected to lead the party, that would also be opened for non-Muslims.

"Previously we had two political parties representing Muslims but were not successful. But this time, we are confident this party will be able to make an impact in the Thai political scene," a Muslim leader said on condition of anonymity.

He added that several people were working on writing the party's constitution and policies, adding that it couldn't be formed before the coming general elections, due to be held in July.

Earlier this week, the Constitution Court ruled that the April 2 election as invalid and ordered a fresh poll.

Another official expected that the party would be backed by all Muslims in view of the current political scene, especially in the southern Muslim-dominated provinces like Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Satun, where there were 22 parliament seats.

"Previously, there were not much issues for the Muslims but the current unrest saw the need for some form of support group for the people. With our own party, we can voice out our grievances through the right channels," he said.

However, former Narathiwat Muslim Council chairman, Abdul Rahman Samad was somehow pessimistic, saying that Thai Muslims were the minority and couldn't form a political force. Instead, he suggested that Muslims join the existing political parties.

Muslims make up about five percent of the large Buddhist population but they have long complained of discrimination.

Thailand's three southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat were all an independent Muslim sultanate before being annexed a century ago.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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