According to a survey by the Asia Foundation, both Thai citizens nationally and those in the deep South regions of Yala, Narathiwas, and Pattani are in favour of decentralisation as a means to end the conflicts which have plagued the region:
Over a third (37%) of southerners believe that the main cause of the southern conflict is the failure of officials to understand the local population. Only 17% believe that separatism is the main issue. Two-thirds (65%) believe that ethnic and religious differences are of equal status in explaining the conflict. The majority of southerners (56%) believe that local self government would help end the southern conflict, a finding that aligns with a national and southern preference for decentralization as a more effective form of governance (69% nationally and 67% Deep South).
The Southernmost states of Thailand are host to a distinctive Pattani-Malay culture. The three states included in the survey were once a coherent sultanate which was semi-independent for a time. The breakup into three separate states was initiated by the British. The region is predominantly populated with Pattani-Malay speaking Muslims with a Buddhist minority. The people of the area share a common culture with the Malays of Kelantan – just over the border.
Designed and directed by The Asia Foundation, the 2010 Southern Survey is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with technical assistance from MIAdvisory in Bangkok.
- Read Democracy and Conflict in Southern Thailand: A Survey of the Thai Electorate in Yala, Narathiwas, and Pattani in English at http://asiafoundation.org/publications/pdf/820
- Read Democracy and Conflict in Southern Thailand: A Survey of the Thai Electorate in Yala, Narathiwas, and Pattani in Thai at http://www.asiafoundationth.or.th/