Nov 24, 2006

Mahathir's Foundation Building Mosque In Pattani

BANGKOK, Nov 24 (Bernama) -- A foundation led by former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will build a mosque costing about RM500,000 in the restive southern Thai province of Pattani.

Honorary Royal Thai consul Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah said Tun Dr Mahathir's son, Datuk Mukhriz, would attend a ground-breaking ceremony for the mosque, which has capacity for 350 people, in Kampung Pasir Jawa, Teluban, on Monday.

Eskay said the Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO), headed by Tun Dr Mahathir, would bear the cost of the construction while materials would be sourced from locals to ensure participation from the local community and creation of jobs.

"The PGPO and the consulate were working closely with the Pattani Governor to ensure its success.

"All the money will be channelled to the governor's office for proper monitoring as well to ensure that our good intentions are not misinterpreted," he added when contacted Friday.

Eskay said there were also plans to repair and upgrade several old mosques in other areas.

He said the ground-breaking ceremony would be followed by a special prayer involving about 3,000 people to ask for peace in the south.

The idea to build the mosque came during the peace talks between insurgents and the Thai government early this year brokered by Tun Dr Mahathir and himself, he said.

"Some of the delegation asked Tun's help to build a mosque. Tun promised he would contribute towards that once the whole peace talks are completed," he added.

The PGPO completed the talks in August and had submitted a peace draft to the Thai government for further action.

Tun Dr Mahathir initiated a roadmap for peace in southern Thailand following his visit to Bangkok in November last year where he met Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

More than 1,800 people have died since violence escalated two years ago in the Muslim-majority provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

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