Chapter 4: THE COUNTRY OF PATANI IN THE PERIOD OF REAWAKENING
After the sovereignty of the Malay rajas of Patani was abolished through trickery by the Siamese kingdom in 1902, the country of Patani was gradually absorbed as a part of the territory of the country of Siam-Thai and its Patani Malay subjects were changed to citizens of the state of Siam-Thai. Siamese officials who came from Bangkok region began to take up posts in Thai at that time were conducted through rule by the authority of the raja (autocracy). Thus the pattern of government in Patani stressed the advantages and benefits for these Siamese officials and their kingdom.
The Malays were made subject to and forced to pay maximum taxes as revenue to the kingdom. As far as possible all the wealth of Patani was to be collected and all the revenue thus to pay the salaries of the Siamese officials. It may be said that no one part of the revenue was used for the welfare of the Malays who had strained to pay the tax.
The majority of the Siamese officials never seriously considered the welfare of the Malays. They first came to Patani with only their official rank. But when they retired they had obtained many broad estates and large compounds in Patani. Some of them, when they retired, returned to Bangkok taking possessions to make their lives luxurious. The officials of Siam-Thai never tried to understand the Malay people and the Islamic religion, because in the period of autocratic rule there was no such concern. They ruled with great ease, but were unconcerned with progress in these territories except for affairs concerning their own advantage.
Service of health, education, and welfare did not exist; Siamese schools were established only in the city, for the benefit of children of Siamese officials. There were no Malay schools. When the government wanted roads to facilitate communications between one territory and another, they depended on local people to build them. They were mobilized to work as laborers. Sometimes laborers were forced to come from their home miles away and were forced to bring their own supplies.
The administration of judicial matters depended on the high commissioner, on the police, and finally on the judges. Sometimes people brought to court were forced to wait for months before their case came to trial. This state of affairs was caused by officials who wanted to find out how much money would be given to them by an accused person when their case came to trial. Such a system of administration made the Malays feel restless and dissatisfied.
In 1923 the Malays started a movement by refusing to pay tax because of their hatred of the Siam-Thai officials who received their money and also because their system of administration did nothing to improve the country. In this year the Malays launched a movement to demand freedom. This movement was suppressed by the kingdom of Siam after a fight occurred between members of the movement and a troop of Siamese police in the district of Mayul (Rakak). Several Malay leaders accused of involvement in this movement were arrested and sent to Bangkok charged with treason. Some of them died and were buried there.
Among the Malay leaders who directed the movement was Tungku Abdulkadir Kamarulldin, the last raja of Patani, who had refused the offer of the Siamese kingdom to become a puppet raja. After the movement began to break up his majesty withdrew to Kelantan and stayed there permanently until he died.
Because this event occurred, and because he was too old. Phraya Dechanuchit, high commissioner for the province (monton) of Patani, was withdrawn from office and replaced by another person. The occupant of this post changed several times until 1932. in this year the country of Siam wa ruled by Raja Prajadhipok, the seventh of his line, and the economic situation of the country of Siam declined so far as to endanger the kingdom.
With the aim of reversing the collapse of the economy of the kingdom of Siam, methods of internal administration were greatly altered, including a decreased number of officials and a cutback on plans for unimportant expenditures. Several provinces throughout the country of Siam were eliminated, one of which was he province of Patani, which was abolished and combined with the province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat. And in Patani one district was abolished the Saiburi (Teluban) district. Half of it was combined with Patani district and half was combined with Narathiwat district. Then there remained only three district Patani, Yala, Narathiwat. And all three were under the rule of the high commissioner of the province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, centered of Singgora.
Steps to revered the economic collapse were implemented without much success. The politicians felt their country would slip into poverty and the number of unemployed people would increase. Therefore on the morning of 24 Jun 1932 a revolt occurred which seized power and Bangkok was controlled by politicians called “The People’ Association” consisting of officers of the army, navy, and air force, together with civilians. Their aim was to change the autocratic style of government to a democratic style of government (sovereignty of the people). This association was led by Phraya Pahun, Nia Pridi Panum Yong, Luang Phibungsongkhram and others, including leaders of Islamic community in Bangkok such as Haji Abdulwahad and Haji Shamsalladin Mustapi.
Afterward a new constitution was promulgated and implemented according to democratic methods, giving an opportunity to the people of every district to exercise their right to choose a representative to attend a council of the kingdom in Bangkok, as people’s representative who were responsible and had the right to formerly unlimited sovereignty of the raja of Siam was restricted permanently established. Then five principles of the government of the country were promulgated as basic acts of democracy which were.
1. To ensure political, judicial, and economic independence
2. To ensure safety and calm in the country
3. to advance the prosperity of the common people
4. To give equal right to the common people
5. To provide sufficient education for the common people
In 1933 the Siam-Thai kingdom abolished all province (monton) in the country of Siam and retained only district (changwat), and all district including the District of Patani, Yala, and Bangenara were made directly subject to rule by the Ministry of the Interior in Bangkok. With this last change the country of Patani essentially had become an integral part of the country of Siam-Thai, and its condition became increasingly separated from the other Malay countries in the peninsula.
In the new constitutional arrangement, it was stated in the first sentence that “the country of Siam-Thai is one in all aspects and may not be divided.” With the democratic form of government in existence, the Malays in the district mentioned felt a sense of hope upon hearing the proclamations of democracy which sounded so sweet, and each awaited the opportunity to express the spirit of democracy which gave equal right and freedom. But from year to year there was no change at all, particularly in matters of health, education, roads, and others. All these were neglected as in the previous period of autocracy. Again the Malays felt restless and dissatisfied.
However, the democratic form of government caused the Siamese to become increasingly, more than before. The Siamese interpreted the first sentence of constitution to mean that every person who is a Siam-Thai subject must be counted as a Siamese in everything, that all must use one language, set of customs, similar clothes, and one religion. They had forgotten that in the constitution there also was one sentence which guaranteed freedom of religion, custom, and way of life to all people who live in the country of Siam.
In 1939 Thai nationalism had begun to spread in the country of Siam, spurred by Luang Phibungsongkhram, who at that time had become prime minister. Among the chief men of Siam, Luang Phibungsongkhram was famous as a strong politician who made much use of nationalism. He had many plans to develop nationalism throughout all the provinces of Indochina. He also intended to suppress minority groups in his country.
In 1940 a Siamese Cultural Institute was established in Bangkok and saw known by the name “Sapha Wattanatham,” the goal of which was the advancement of nationalism and the expansion of Siamese culture throughout the country. This Cultural Institute gradually issued directive in the form of compulsory rules of the public. One of the first directive which was issued compelled all people of Siam to wear Western-style clothing, including hats for both men and women. At meals it was necessary to use spoons and forks and to sit on chairs at a table. Malays in the district of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Setul felt this directive was aimed directly at them because they were forbidden to wear Malay clothing, use Malay names, speak the Malay language, and embrace the Islamic religion.
Among a few requirement of the rules advancing Siamese culter, it was forbidden to speak Malay in any government office. Government officers who know Malay were strictly forbidden to speak Malay with local inhabitants. Malays who came to settle a matter in an office of the kingdom were forced to use the Siamese language. If they did not speak Siamese they were forced to hire someone who knew speak Siamese to be their interpret, whether the affair was important or not.
Among the requirements advancing Thai culture, it also was stated that Buddhism was the official religion, that Islam must be opposed, and that every effort which would advance Islam must be inhabited. Even worse, some Malay people in the district of Saiburi (Teluban) were forced to pray to an idol of Buddha. Thus Buddhist idols were installed in Siamese schools and the pupils, a majority of whom were Malays who held offices in the kingdom were forced to change their names to Siamese and it was forbidden for Malays to hold high offices. People who were Muslims were forbidden to attend military schools and hold higher offices.
In 1942 the cultural regulations were gradually implemented in the Malay district, forcing Malays to wear Western clothes: coat, trousers, and hats for men, and tight blouses and short skirts for women. Anyone refusing to follow regulations was arrested and fined, and sometimes kicked and beaten by the Siamese police. In this year the Malays in those districts became restless, especially the religious teachers. They too were forced to wear Western clothing and often the robes and turbans of the Hajis were snatched off by the Siamese police and trampled under their feet. Similarly women, while buying and selling in Malay markets, were kicked and jabbed with gun butts by the Siamese police because they wore long loose dresses and shawls.
Thus, because of the proposals of Luang Phibunsongkhram, the Siamese officials in Malay districts were able to terrorize unchecked everywhere, supported by the cultural regulations. They became more and more zealous in desecrating the honor of the Islamic religion and Malay custom, and their nationalism caused them to feel scorn and contempt for the Malays.
On 8 December 1942 war broke out in East Asia when Japanese troops launched their attack in areas of Southeast Asia. Among their attacks were landings on all the east coast of Siam, including Patani. The Japanese troops attacked all along the eastern border of Siam and fighting with Siamese troops went on for several hours. Luang Phibunsongkhram violated his neutral status by permitting Japanese troops to pass through the country of Siam to extend their attacks against Burma and Malaya. With this step Luang Phibunsongkhram caused Malaya and Singapore to fall into the hands of Japan with ease. Not many days later he declared war on the other side and faithfully worked together with Japan. During the war the movement to advance Siamese culture and nationalism broadened and an agreement was reached between the Siamese Cultural Institute and the Japanese Cultural Institute in order to assist in advancing each culture.
Using military strength and an iron fist, Luang Phibunsongkhram succeeded in maintaining high power in government and, sheltered under the samurai sword, he began to implement dictatorial rule and imitate the actions of the Fascists. During the rule of the dictator Phibunsongkhram, the acts of the Siamese officials toward the Malays became increasingly highhanded and cruel and the movemment to "Siamize" the Malays became increasingly clear. The second step began to be implemented, that is the building up of the grandeur of Siam based on the concept of Greater Siam. On this basis, the dictator Phibunsongkhram sent a troop of his soldiers to subjugate the Shan districts in Burma and in 1943 entered to govern within Kelantan, Trengganu, Perlis, and Kedah.
In the year 1944, Phibunsongkhram abolished the office of religious magistrate in the districts of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Setul, and revoked Islamic laws concerning marriage, divorce, and inheritance which had been recognized by the kingdom of Siam for decades. Subsequently all cases pertaining to Islamic affairs were forced to follow the civil laws of the kingdom and were settled by Siamese courts.
In this year the situation of the Malays and the honor of the Islamic religion became increasingly endangered. In the same year, theologians led by Haji Sulung bin Abdul Kadir established an Islamic organization in Patani called He'et alNapadh alLahkan alShanat with the object of encouraging cooperation among Islamic leaders responsible for resisting the movement of the kingdom of Siam to Siamize the Malays and to violate the Islamic religion.
On the 14th day of January 1944, which coincides with the Siamese year 2487, a request was sent to the Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram by Tungku Abdul Jalal bin Tungku Abdul Talib, a leader of the Malays in southern Siam who was motivated by genuine loyalty to his people and was the Malay representative in the Siamese parliament at that time. This request concerned enforcement of the Siamese cultural regulations with regard to the culture of the Malay people in southern Siam and the desecration of the religion of Islam, which was being carried out by the governor of Patani (a Siam-Thai). An official reply was finally received on the 29th of April 1944, coinciding with the Siamese year 2487. This reply came from the Office of the Secretary of the Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram and expressed approval of the behavior of the governor of Patani and the manner in which he carried out the tyrannical Siamese cultural regulations, which were so crude and forceful. The letter read: "I wish to make known to you that your letter dated 14/2/1944 concerning the actions of the governor of Patani has been examined, and the Office of the Ministry of the Interior has given notice that the actions of the Governor of Patani are considered to be proper and should give no cause for anger from the majority of the people. Be so informed
This was the only answer of the government of Phibunsongkhram to the protest of the Malays and the Islamic congregation in southern Siam voiced by their leader. This protest did not receive fair consideration. On the contrary, the government of Siam approved the behavior of its cruel and tyrannical officials. On the 14th of August, Japan surrendered to the Allies and the war of Greater East Asia ended. The dictator Phibunsongkhram was arrested as a war criminal in Siam due to his cooperation with the Japanese and was put into a Siamese jail for six months.
With the victory of the Allies, the goal of establishing Greater Siam was no longer attainable and efforts to spread Siamese culture were halted. In the month of August 1945, Nai Khuana Aphaiwong was selected to become prime minister of Siam and a new cabinet of ministers was formed. "rMre government of Nai Kuang abolished all of the culture laws made by Phibunsongkhram and the movement to Siamize the Malays stopped.
Even so, the cruelty and violations of Siamese officials against the Malays did not cease. The sensibilities of the Siamese officials were ruined so that laws of justice and humanity were discarded. At this time there was a sort of contagious disease among the Siamese officials which led to disregard of directives and the taking of bribes. This occurred from the highest officials to the lowest peons. A matter that was very important could not succeed if bribes to the officials were not first prepared.
With the police, a criminal who was caught could with ease be safe and free if he gave them a bribe. Repeatedly, when a Malay was accused of friendship with bad elements, he was immediately arrested by the Siamese police, taken to a lonely place, and beaten before he was taken to the place of detention. This also happened to Malays accused of taking part in political movements critical of the government. They were always threatened and slandered in various ways by the Siamese police, arrested, or simply beaten without bothering to take the matter to court.
In the month of December 1947, a tragic and horrible event occurred in Patani when a Siamese police bailiff was shot to death by bandits near a village named Kampung Belukar Masahak. A force of Siamese police went to this village to arrest Malay youths and proceeded to torture them in various ways in order to find out who among them was the murderer. They charged that the Malay youths in that village were supplying provisions to bandits, giving them full assistance. Many Siamese police came and burned the village because it was charged that the residents of the village were befriending the bandits. With this fire twenty-five Malay families were made homeless.
On the 26th of September 1947 Miss Barbara WittinghamJones, an English reporter, visited Patani for the first time since the end of the war. She traveled through 250 miles of the country in order to study and observe the condition of the 700,000 Malays under the oppression of the kingdom of Siam.
In the newspaper Straits Times, from Singapore, in the issue of December 1, Miss [Wittingham-] Jones told of her investigation. In her words: "Wherever I went, I found principles of oppression applied in an organized manner and an intentional movement launched to Siamize the subjects of the country." The opinion of the public has been disregarded by enforced prohibition by the kingdom of Siam regarding education for the Malays there," said Miss [Wittingham-] Jones, while explaining that schools in Patani had been closed by the Thai kingdom of Siam.
All along the way I saw school buildings closed and empty. Even religious schools were prohibited by the kingdom of Siam, although one or two Malay schools were still open, mainly in Yala and Narathiwat. But during one or two days of my visit there, a few more were forced to close. Because the Malays do not want to send their children to Siamese schools and are stubborn about not wanting to study the Siamese language, the decline of education among the Malay people in Patani is holding back their social and economic progress.<
Stating that this Siamese principle has killed the life and spirit of the Malay people, Miss [Wittingham-] Jones explained that the result is a gulf separating "the Siamese subjects and the Malays, which grows wider every day." The Siamese colonist, she says further, looks with obvious distaste and contempt on the Malay subjects, characterizing the Malay subjects as a race of illiterate and stupid farmers.
"As a pariah among social groups, it is not surprising if some of the more stubborn Malays become enemies of society, by becoming pirates on land and sea," Miss [Wittingham-] Jones says. "Every level of Siamese officials take bribes and because this evil is further compounded by the feelings of the Siamese officials who look with distaste and contempt on the Malays, the fate of the Patani Malays is to suffer constant tyranny and oppression, the basis for their desire for revenge on the Siamese officials." Then Miss [Wittingham-] Jones relates how the Siamese police burned Malay villages to the ground because thoselvVillages were accused of protecting criminals. "The Siamese police did not wish to investigate the truth or falsehood of those accusations or to try the people in court. Siamese officials have entered Malay homes to rape Malay women and force Malay shops to pay protection money. That protection money totals thousands of tikal and Siamese police often enter Malay shops to steal whatever they want," Miss [Wittingham-] Jones said further."
To demonstrate that the lives of Patani Malays were cheap the reporter says "Malays are often summarily shot without further investigation or mysteriously disappear without leaving a trace or further reports. Because Patani is isolated from the outside world, the Malays cannot and do not constitute an opposition to this harsh and cruel government. Simple dissention against the Siamese rule is considered by the kingdom of Siam to endanger the safety of the country. Such dissention is crushed by death sentences or torture. Malays in Patani are not free to speak, have no newspapers, have few radios, and no political organization. The place used by the Patani Malays to raise their voices are the mosques. Occasionally a Malay newspaper is smuggled to Patani, the Ulusan Melayu newspaper [of Malaya].
Furthermore Miss [Wittingham-] Jones explains: "Although Thai Siam has oppressed the Patani Malays so terribly for fifty years, nevertheless the principle of Siamizing Malays in Patani has not yet succeeded. I was surprised to see the spiritual strength of the Patani Malays in withstanding oppression so that they are able to preserve their culture."
Thus the summary of the facts by which the reporter Miss [Wittingham-] Jones portrays the situation actually prevailing in the Malay districts of southern Siam. From this can be understood the reasons why the Patani Malays have simultaneously arisen and asked for independence and justice.
The news of cruelty and the efforts to Siamize the Malays of Patani caused a commotion throughout the world, especially in Malaya. In the month of August 1947 the kingdom of Siam sent a commission consisting of seven people to Patani in order to investigate these matters and to listen to the local inhabitants in order to bring about a change that would be suitable to the Malays.
On the 24th of August the investigatory commission held a general meeting with the Malays of Patani which provided an opportunity for questions and answers. In this meeting Haji Sulung bin Abdul Kadir, the head of the Islamic Council, and Wan Othman Ahmad, head of the Persekutuan Semangat Patani [Alliance of the Spirit of Patani], represented the populace of Patani, and submitted to the commission seven demands to be presented to the government.' The contents of the demands were:
1. The government of Siam should have a person of high rank possessing full power to govern the four provinces of Patani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Setul, and this person should be a Muslim born within one of the provinces and elected by the populace. The person in this position should be retained without being replaced;
2. All of the taxes obtained within the four provinces should be spent only within the provinces;
3. The government should support education in the Malay medium up to the fourth grade in paarish schools within the four provinces;
4. Eighty percent of the government officials within the four provinces should be Muslims born within the provinces;
5. The government should use the Malay language within government offices alongside the Siamese language;
6. The government should allow the Islamic Council to establish laws pertaining to the customs and ceremonies of Islam with the agreement of the [above noted] high official;
7. The government should separate the religious court from the civil court in the four provinces and permit [the former] full authority to conduct cases.
The letter containing these demands made clear the deeds of the local Siamese officials who often indecently abrogated the rights of the Malay populace, and attempted to persuade the SiamThai government that their demands were At contrary to the constitution of the kingdom of Siam, rather that they [the demands] were directed toward improving the fate of their people and their homeland in a time when the world is busy preparing important rights and freedoms for the peoples who have been colonized.
In analyzing the problems faced by the Malay populace in conjunction with these demands it was stated:
We the Malay people realize that the true reality of our condition under the government of Siam is indecent and miserable whenever we are called Thai Islam. With such an appellation it is made clear that the question of our nationality as Malay people is not recognized by the kingdom of Siam. Because of this, we, in the name of all of the Malay common people in Patani, unanimously demand that the kingdom of Siam consider us as Malay people of the Islamic religion so that no longer will the world view us as Thai Islam.
The Siamese government investigating team heard all of the demands of the Patani Malays and it was agreed that the demands would be forwarded to the government in Bangkok
At the same time it was reported that the Malays in the province of Narathiwat also had proposed similar demands to the same investigating team. Their demands were made by fifty-five local Malay leaders. Among their demands was that the Siamese Office of Broadcasting in Bangkok should have a portion of their broadcast in the Malay language every day. Offices of the government should close on Fridayss as the day of rest and also on Islamic religious holidays. The system of education should be changed to accord with the standards of the modern world. Under the direction of Muslim officials, taxes obtained from the four provinces should be applied to the welfare of the four provinces. There were other demands contained in the thirteen points. Not many days later Malays from the province of Setul, represented by Incik Abdullah bin Mahmud Sa'ad, sent similar demands.
All of the demands of the Malay people were delivered to the Siamese government in Bangkok, but did not result in any changes from the Siamese government. Rather, Siamese officials were of the opinion that these demands were quite contrary to the national Constitution and need not be considered.
On the 30th of January 1948 a special correspondent of the Utusan Melayu in Bangkok asked the deputy prime minister of Siam what was the attitude of the government regarding these demands. He answered, "The demands will be considered punctually and as many of the demands as possible will be implemented." This reply meant that the Malay demands which did not hinder the operations of the Siamese government would be implemented, but that whichever conflicted with their proprieties would be rejected. Some members of the Siamese government interpreted the demands as a political movement against the constitutional laws, and thought that it was necessary to take strong action against the Malays.
By order of the Siamese commissioner of Patani, on the morning of the 16th of January 1948, a troop of armed Siamese police arrested Haji Sulung at his house and two days later arrested Wan Othman Ahmad, Haji Wan Hussein, and Wan Mahmud Ami. The Malay leaders who had voted the demands of the Malay people were arrested and accused of treason against thekingdom. One month later Haji Sulung and his colleagues were taken to Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and the Siamese court there concluded their deliberations by imposing jail sentences of three years. Two months later they were taken to Bangkok and detained in the large prison "Bang Kwang."
After these arrests, many Malays of Patani who also were accused of involvement in the movement fled to seek refuge in Malaya. The Islamic Council of Patani was outlawed by the government. During this year all activities of the Patani Malays were constantly watched by the Siamese government, and many special undercover agents were sent from Bangkok to Patani, Yala, and Narathiwat to investigate the activities of those Malays who were considered to be political and opposed to the government, or who demanded freedom.
The Malay question became a regular subject in the discussions of the members of the Siamese overnment. Moreover, their problems caused a commotion in Malaya when Malay newspapers stood up in support of the Malay movements in southern Siam. Utcesan Melayu, the most important Malay newspaper, stood up for and supported their aspirations. The voice of Utusan Melayu constantly criticized the members of the Siamese government and its voice resounded in the Siamese parliament when the condition of the Malays, who suffered behind the Siamese iron curtain [tabir besi], was made known.
During this time a group of conservative Siamese newspapers who supported the government constantly slandered the endeavors of the Malay people while calling their movement wicked. There also were honest Siamese newspapers who honored the principles of the press and were sympathetic to the Malays.
On the 30th of January 1948 a troop of special Siamese police were sent from Bangkok to the Malay provinces to reinforce the hold of the government over the Malay people, as it was believed that their movement would expand. On the 28th of April 1948, there occurred a fierce battle between one thousand Malays and a force of Siam-Thai police at Kampung Dusun Nyior in the province of Narathiwat. The Siamese police began the attack against the Malays, accusing the Malays of actions against the Siamese government. The battle lasted for thirty-six hours before
the Malays retreated to the jungle to carry out a guerrilla struggle. Close to 400 Malays, including old people, women, and children, were killed in the battle, and more than thirty Siamese police were killed.
On the 27th of April, three Siamese bombers flew over the area of the battle to bomb the Malays." Siamese warships harbored at Kuala Bengenara were ordered to land their troops to assist the Siamese police in killing the Malay people. One month later, Kamnan Mahmud, the headman of Kampung Tanjong Mas, and Mustaphi, and old Malay man of Telabuan, were arrested by the Siamese police and accused of involvement in the unrest. The two of them were killed without being given a hearing in
The Siamese government tried to keep secret the events which led up to the battle and lied to the world by saying that it was simply a battle between a group of bandits and the guardians of peace. But the truth could not be hidden in the face of clear evidence that showed that the Malays had lost their patience and were increasingly dissatisfied with the Siam-Thai government. The sacrifice of hundreds of Malay lives was a major event in the history of the rising of the Malay people of Patani, who demand justice and freedom.
The government of Siam endeavored to blur the eyes of the world with their propaganda by belittling the Malay movement and stressing that the Malays acted because they were paid by a small
group of Patani Malay agitators who had fled to Malaya.
To confront the propaganda of the Siamese government, on the 6th of February 1948, under the leadership of the head of a committee of Malay representatives in southern Siam, a protest was sent to the prime minister of Siam who had said that the Malay movement represented only a small faction of the Malays. The head of the committee also sent his protest to Lake Success, New York, asking that the United Nations take measures to carry out an investigation in Siam for the purpose of holding a plebiscite to determine the true condition and attitude of the Malays in
Copies of the protest also were sent to the British and American embassies in Bangkok, noting the true condition of the
Malay movement. This protest demanded that the prime minister of Siam prove to the world the truth or falsity of the position of the kingdom of Siam by permitting a plebiscite headed by a representative of the United Nations, and without the presence of the Siamese troops and officials.
This protest was received by the government of Siam in Bangkok, but it was not considered, as on the 8th of December 1947 a coup d'etat occurred in Bangkok." Two months later Luang Phibunsongkhram, the former war criminal, became prime minister. On the 29th of January 1948, the government of Phibunsongkhram held an election to legitimize the government, and to obtain the recognition of foreign nations, especially world powers. The Malays of Patani began to boycott the election, not wanting to elect representatives to parliament because of the return of Lung Phibunsongkhram, which was not legitimate under the Constitution of the nation. They did not want to support the government of Phibunsongkhram, but thd"efforts of the Malays were unsuccessful because of the threats and intimidations of the Siamese police. Finally, Luang Phibunsongkhram retturned to power in the government. With his return, the Malays were restless and dissatisfied because during the dictator's previous rule, Luang Phibunsongkhram had been a great enemy of the Malays.
With the return of Luang Phibunsongkhram the question arose among the Malays whether he would once again attempt to Siamize the Malays as he had before, or whether he would implement other measures. Several months later he re-established the Council of Culture and gradually began to implement the cultural laws of the past, which were compulsory. Beginning with the year 1950, the CChinese within Siam were bared from thirteen
occupations, and there were reports that he would force the Malays to wear Western clothing once again. These matters troubled the Malays.
On the 10th of October 1949, at the invitation of the kingdom of Siam, a group of Malay news reporters representing Malay, English, Chinese, and Tamil newspapers were taken to visit the provinces of Patani, Yala, and Narathiwat, to observe and investigate the true condition of the Malays in southern Siam. Wherever they went they were constantly misled and spied upon
by the Siamese police. Their condition was the same as prisoners as they [the police] did not want to allow the reporters to meet and speak with the Malays and/or receive the true story.
Even though closed off and covered up by the government of Siam, the condition of the Malays in southern Siam has become clear to the world. Their life is one of constant sorrow and they receive no assistance from the Siam-Thai government. If studied in depth, since the fall of Patani in the eighteenth century until this day, it is clear that the government of Siam has misgoverned during this whole period of time. No progress has been made in Patani to provide well-being for the Malays. In matters of health, education, association, and economy, Patani has lagged far behind the progress of its neighbors in Malaya. The actions of the Siamese government which allow the Malays to live in backwardness, definitely gives a large profit to them, but this has grieved the hearts of the Malays. The Malays of Patani were forced to pawn their country to the government of Siam with the hope that they would be given good leadership toward general progress, or at the very least be allowed equality with the leadership given to the Siamese people. Patani is not poor, and has natural wealth in the land. Among the provinces of southern Siam, Patani should be counted as rich, with no need to depend on the wealth of the Siamese from other provinces to pay for the welfare of the Malays. If in the more than sixty years of Siamese rule in Patani only 50 percent of the taxes had been used for the welfare of the Malays, then surely this day Patani would appear in a better condition. At least the main roads of Patani would not be cart tracks and her towns would surely not be like the towns of the Sakai of Malaya.
The principles of democracy in Siam claim to provide equality and freedom, to assure adequate education to the people and certain other beautiful claims. But it has been seventeen years since democracy in Siam has been in effect, and no evidence is visible to the Malay people. Certainly there is progress in a period of democracy, as can be seen in the city of Bangkok, which is far more developed than ten years ago. The streets of the city have been made from concrete, hundreds of hospitals have been built, tens of institutions of higher education have been established, all aspects of the livelihood of the Siamese have been given assistance, and many kinds of useful guidance given to the Siamese people. In Patani, democracy such as this appears not to have arrived and is unknown by the Malays in Patani. Siamese democracy apparently reaches only the area of Bangkok and the territory surrounding it. Siam-Thai democracy is for the Siam-Thai, for the religion of Buddha, for the oppression of the Malays, and for the violation of the religion of Islam. Truly peculiar is the Siamese democracy, and it is clear that democracy made in Siam is not fit for the Malay people.
Observing the condition of the world today, there arises one further question: is it the ultimate condition of the Patani Malays to be forever satisfied to live imprisoned under the conservative democracy of Siam? Today the world is moving to build a true understanding of democracy, under the grand principles of the United Nations at Lake Success, New York, to free the colonized peoples and implant feelings of democracy among all peoples, so that love of democracy enters their consciousness and it becomes their mutual responsibility to guard world security. When will the Patani Malays experience democracy and, one conscious of their fate, agree to struggle until the end or democracy? These questions are raised by the intellectuals of Patani’s Malays today.
Among the one hundred million Malay people of the world, the Malays of Patani are the most ill-fated. Even though the Malay people of Patani long have lived in the democratic world, because Siam-Thai democracy is limited, the fate of the Malay people is like a climbing vine unable to grow up the trellis.
In truth the fate of Patani Malay people should not be placed in the hands of the Siam-Thai government. Rather, measures to improve their fate and condition should be placed in their own hands.
Masjid Teluk Manok