October 31, 2023
BANGKOK – Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang on Monday told a House committee that the government will lift the emergency decree imposed in the insurgency-hit southern border provinces by 2027.
Sutin gave the pledge while speaking to the House panel on national security, border affairs, strategies and reforms, said committee chairman Rangsiman Rome.
The panel summoned the defence minister and armed forces chiefs and called on the government to lift the emergency decree.
Sutin replied that the armed forces still needed the decree to maintain security in the restive region, where more than 7,000 have been killed in insurgency related violence since 2004.
However, the defence minister promised to consider relaxing the decree gradually until it is lifted across al of Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla by 2027, Rangsiman said.
Sutin also promised to end compulsory conscription to the armed forces soon but said the policy was still needed for national security, he added.
On the Royal Thai Navy’s plan to switch from procuring a Chinese submarine to an anti-submarine frigate, Rangsiman said the panel argued that the exchange should not cost the country more money.
Sutin said earlier that the Navy would need at least another 1 billion baht to buy the frigate after the submarine deal sank over China’s inability to provide a German-made engine.
Sutin also promised to open direct lines of communication for urgent matters between the panel and armed forces’ chiefs, Rangsiman said.