[Documents menu] Documents menu

Ex-communists seek Thai citizenship

The Straits Times, 8 December 2000

SONGKHLA - Former members of the now-defunct Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) have urged Thailand to honour its promise to give them citizenship in return for giving up their armed struggle against Malaysia.

Mr Boonchai Sae-ung, a former CPM leader, said hundreds of former members are living in nine villages in Narathiwat, Yala and Songkhla provinces without citizenship.

He said the former CPM members have not been able to vote in any election since they laid down their arms and agreed to live in peace in Thailand in 1987.

The former leader added that the government had promised to give them citizenship in exchange for stopping their terrorist campaign against Malaysia.

He said successive governments had been reminded of the promise but nothing had happened.

Our children, who were born in Thailand, have got citizenship but we have been living here for 13 years without the right to vote, he said. Thailand has traditionally shied away from making it too easy for migrants, especially ethnic minorities, to become citizens fearing it could become a sponge to people fleeing neighbouring countries. --The Nation/Asia News Network