Not all Tom Yam Kung restaurants fund insurgency : Interior
Not all Tom Yam Kung restaurants in Malaysia involved in funding the insurgents activities, Interior Minister Aree Wongaraya said Wednesday.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont's revelation about the funding would not affect the relationship between Thailand and Malaysia.
The minister was referring to Surayud's claims on Tuesday that the restaurants situated along the joint border and in Kuala Lumpur have financed the activities of the separatists who are responsible for the daily violence in the south.
"I think the prime minister did not mean that all the Tom Yam Kung restaurants involved in the financing. It is likely that he meant some of them," Aree said.
"I believe that PM's statement on the matters were accurate. He had discussed them with Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi before. Therefore his statements were not surely baseless as claimed," the minister said.
Earlier Malaysia's Deputy Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow described the allegation as "baseless," the New Straits Times reported.
"It is very imaginative of him. It is absolutely baseless. These restaurants are owned by Malaysians and Thais," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Another junior security minister, Johari Baharom, demanded Thailand show proof of the allegation.
"If this is true, we will investigate. But they must come to us with information first," he was quoted as saying.
Husam Musa, state public administration, finance and economic planning committee chairman in the northeastern Kelantan state that borders Thailand, rebuked the allegations.
"I think the stall operators, who are mainly Thai Muslims, would only be sending back money to their families, not for the purpose alleged by Surayud," he said.
Thai restaurants owners also criticised Surayud.
"We are working to earn an honest living, not wrecking the lives of others," one was quoted as saying.
Residents in Thailand's southernmost provinces are mostly ethnic Malay and Muslim, sharing more culturally with their neighbours across the border than with the rest of Buddhist Thailand.
The Nation/Agence France Presse