A short working visit for Thaksin

  • Nation
  • Friday, 09 Apr 2004

PUTRAJAYA: It is going to be a very short working visit to Malaysia for Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Monday. 

The Thai leader, who has requested for a meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi following the Sungai Golok bombing that injured 28 people, including 10 Malaysian tourists, is scheduled to arrive at 10.30am and will be whisked to the Prime Minister’s Office here. 

Thaksin will be accompanied by three ministers – Foreign, Defence and Interior – and Abdullah will host a lunch for the visitors before they depart for home. 

The Thai Prime Minister had said last week he was compiling a list of suspected terrorists holding both Malaysian and Thai citizenships.  

In Bangkok, Interior Minister Bhokin Bhalakula said Thailand believed Malaysia was sincere in cracking down on Thai Muslim separatists but the militants had taken advantage of weak border controls to seek refuge on Malaysian soil.  

He told The Associated Press the main problem was that many militants suspected in a recent surge of violence in Thailand’s Muslim south held dual nationality with Malaysia and could legally reside there. 

The citizenship issue has become a sore point between the two countries, with Thailand saying that terrorists carry out attacks in its three Muslim-majority southern provinces and flee to neighbouring Malaysia, where they are harboured by local villagers. 

Malaysian officials have dismissed allegations that the country was harbouring terrorists. 

Thaksin and Abdullah are expected to focus on dual nationality, Bhokin said, adding that his government was happy with Malaysia's co-operation. 

“Malaysian authorities co-operate with us very well. Their stance is very firm that they don’t want any person to use Malaysian soil to carry out harmful activity against their neighbouring country,” he said.  

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