The Memorandum of Understanding signed on December 14, 2020, between the Chana Rakthin Network and the Government aims to resolve issues with a controversial industrial estate project proposed to be built in Chana District of Songkhla province. Then, on December 15, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan addressed the Cabinet meeting on this topic.
Later on January 27, 2021, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued an order to form an investigation committee to monitor the situation. The Prime Minister stated that he has given the committee complete authority to uncover the truth. The findings of the investigation will be presented to the Prime Minister and Cabinet members for further consideration. After it is completed, representatives from government agencies and relevant stakeholders will be invited to a meeting to discuss the findings in depth.
Memorandums between the Chana Rakthin Network and the government cover three critical areas :
- The government will inspect the ongoing practice and operation of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) involved in the ill-advised industrial estate project in Chana District.
- The government will provide participatory strategic environmental assessment (SEA) by developing a procedure that will be acceptable to all parties.
- For the time being, a controversial industrial estate project in Chana will be put on hold until the first and second actions are completed.
Despite this memorandum has been carried out to some extent. Things seem not to go as planned, according to Chana Rakthin Network. Progress has yet to be made.
The Participatory Strategic Environmental Assessment will deviate from the original plan. SBPAC and private firms that own this industrial estate project have also accelerated the plan, including forcing changes to urban planning and conducting four different environmental impact studies, which are viewed as disrespectful to the MoU signed with the people. This is completely unacceptable.
On behalf of the Chana community, I request that you fulfill the government’s promise to the Chana community by fully and honestly implementing the Memorandum of Understanding as follows:
- The findings of the investigation must be made available to the public.
- Furthermore, participatory strategic environmental assessment must be carried out by an independent academic body respected by all stakeholders.
- Meanwhile, all activities must be halted until the Strategic Environmental Assessment is completed.
I’m looking for a concrete response from you and the Cabinet in the form of executive orders. I’ll be visiting the Government House every day until I hear back.
Daughter of the Sea of Chana Khairiyah Rahmanyah. November 29, 2021.