JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia — The newly founded Prachachart Party became the first to campaign abroad when members went to Malaysia on Thursday to reach out to Thai laborers.
Party secretary general Thawee Sodsong, a police colonel who once led the National Security Agency, visited the capital of the southern Malaysian state of Johor to speak to some 400 Thai-Malay muslim migrant workers about how their policies could improve their livelihoods.
In Malaysia, Thai restaurants – sold at what are called “tom yum goong” eateries – are popular and many migrant Thai workers either own or work at them. Tens of thousand Thai workers, both legal and illegal, make a living in Malaysia.
Thawee said he met with the workers to hear of their plight and offer recommendations on improving their livelihood. Some told him that their entire families were in Malaysia illegally and were now stateless people in need of help from the government. They said that the future government should find ways to enable them to work legally.
Thawee said the party placed importance in assisting Thai restaurant workers as they remit billions of baht back to Thailand annually. He promised at the gathering that his party would help sold the problem of illegal labor and lack of citizenship if it becomes part of the government after the next election.
Prachachart is led by by Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, a former house speaker and veteran Thai-Malay politician.
The next poll, which had been expected in February, remains in limbo after a royal decree setting the date was not issued as expected.