History of South-East Asia

Chapter 1



Thailand previously consisted of various small ethnic kingdoms that emerged across the region in northeastern Myanmar, central and northern Thailand and Laos.[1] Historians believe that the Tais were the first to attempt to build a nation state in this region. These Tais (??) were the ancestors of the present day Thais, the Lao peoples, the Shans of Myanmar and a range of highland societies of mainland South-East Asia namely the Black, Red and White Tais of Laos and Northern Vietnam and the Lu of Yunnan, China.[2]

Scholars believe that the early Tais slowly moved southwards from western China in the seventh century. They rapidly adapted the beliefs, ideas, language, technology and religion of those whom came in contact with.[3] A variant of the Tai-state was Angkor, the great Khmer kingdom located on the eastern part of modern Thailand. From 11th to 13th centuries Angkor was very powerful but declined after that. The Tais then settled to the northeast of Angkor to establish their first kingdom known as "Sukhothai" which controlled Angkor, the Mekong delta and the Vientiane plain in the north and Ligor (Nakorn Sri Thammaraj) in the south. Many scholars in Thailand and abroad claimed Sukhothai to be the first Thai nation state which was subsequently followed by Ayudhya (1351-1767), Thonburi (1767-1782) and Bangkok (1782-present) under the Chakri Dynasty. Beginning with Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, what is now known as Thailand became clearer in terms of its geographical shape and frontiers. It covered all of mainland South-East Asia except for those areas under Burmese and Vietnamese suzerainties, as well as some Malay states. All ethnic groups such as the Mon, Khmer, Cham, Malay, Chinese, Laos, Shan, tribal ethnic groups and others were considered to be under the patronage of the Phra Borom Pothi Sompharn, the royal patronage. The prevailing state ideology was a political manifestation of Buddhism and its values, and its approach to assimilate and unite all these ethnic groups into one nation.

Since modern Thais regard Sukhothai as the birthplace of the Thai nation, they also believed that the nation was first established during the second half of the 13th century.[4] This means the Thai nation itself was based on different ethnic background.//// Even some Thai kings could not rightly claimed to be of Tai origin such as King U-thong of Ayudhya and King Rama I; the former was of Chinese origin while the mother of the latter was Chinese.[5] The process of marriage had tied the people of different backgrounds which then became the race of Thai.//// The pattern of marriage-connections probably contributed to the gradualist character of Thai settlement within the area.[6]

In terms of religion, Hinduism-Buddhism was influential in all aspects of life of the people in mainland South-East Asia including the Thais during the 13th-14th century although it should be noted that Muslim traders were actively preaching Islam throughout the region especially in the southern part of mainland Southeast Asia. It was strongly believed that Islam had already established itself in the south before the Sukhothai period or even before the immigration of Tais from southern China,[7] a fact noted by Maluleem ;

"Islam had already existed in Thailand before the Sukhothai period (about 1357 A.D.) which is considered the beginning of Thailand's history. Its means that Islam existed in the area before the Thai (Tai) people moved from Yunnan in China. Muslims in southern part of Thailand are aborigines who settled in the Malayan Peninsular since 43 B.C. in the kingdom of Langkasuka"[8]

The discussion thus far shows that Thailand originates from various ethnic communities who were different to each other.[9] Nevertheless, the Tais had adapted well to other group identities; it was equally successful in assimilating them.//// The Tai's success in assimilation may have been due to three main institutions namely Buddhism, the bureaucracy and the monarchy. This success is most evident among ethnic-groups in the north and east of the kingdom.[10] The only region where stiff resistance had been, and still is widespread, is the southernmost part of the country where the people are not only of different ethnic background, namely Malays, but are culturally different (speech, dress, belief, and other aspects of life).

During the first part of the 20th century of modern Thailand, the people of this southernmost part were never mentioned as "Thais" but were known as "Khaek" i.e., visitors or guests. Royal documents and reports in the Thai court initiated from the beginning of the Chakri Dynasty never state that Malay Muslims in Southern Thailand were "Thai" people; in contrast, they were denoted as "Khaek" (visitor), "Khaek Muslim" (Muslim visitor), and "Khaek Melayu" (Malay visitor).[11] Those terms were used widely to refer to Malay Muslims, especially in the first part of the twentieth century. In 1939, the term "Siam" was changed to "Thailand" and had gave a lot of meaning behind the change.//// Thailand became the land of the Thai people from the different parts of the land namely, South, North, Center, East and Northeast (the so-called "Isan" region), and, of course, different religions. They have been identified as "Thai-Buddhists", "Thai-Muslims", "Thai-Christians" and so forth. The problem is that the people in Southernmost Thailand favor to be called the "Malay-Muslim" rather than the "Thai-Muslim".

Siam was changed to Thailand during the reign of Prime Minister Field-Marshall Pibul Songkram who had announced a new policy, called Raththaniyom that emphasized Thai nationalism. Since then "Thai Islam" and "Thai Muslim" were used officially to refer to all Muslim citizens in Thailand. The official term expresses the view that these people were Thais who happened to be Muslims; while the popular term of Malay Muslims connote that the people are Malay Muslims who happened to live in Thailand.[12] It reflects that these people accepted Thai citizenship although their identity remained Malays who believed in Islam.

They are viewed from different perspectives, one from the government while the other comes from the Malay Muslims themselves. To avoid misconception of the national identity, the government has to use "Thai Muslims" instead of "Malay Muslims." However, as described by Omar Farouk, the differences of "Thai Muslims" and the "Malay Muslims" are at the categorization as between "assimilated" and "unassimilated".[13] The "assimilated" Muslims mostly refer to those Muslims who settled out of the three provinces of Southern Thailand whilst the "unassimilated" Muslims obviously refer to the Muslims in the three provinces of Southern Thailand, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, where they have been practicing their own way of life.

Due to the long incorporation of the three provinces into the Buddhist nation of Thailand, such provinces have been dominated by Malay Muslims in terms of populations. Due to drastic differences in religious, linguistic and cultural characteristics, an assertion of this difference was manifested through resistance to the national institutions such as the government and the bureaucracy.[14]

Ethnic differences of Malay Muslims necessitated them to preserve their own identity through various approaches especially through the educational system they created and maintained. From the Islamic perspective, a good Muslim is a person who strictly adheres to the tenets of Islam. Muslims need to understand the religion which can be gained through the process of education. This becomes the reason why the education is very significant to all Muslims and this importance is the major force behind the establishment of a variety of educational institutions in Malay Muslims' society in the South in particular. Pondok and madrasah are among the crucial educational institutions existing in the region, past and present. Even though the educational institutions of the Malay Muslims have been subject to change or even had been changed their form, they have strived to maintain ethnic identity as long as possible.

Southern Thailand in this study,[15] refers to the three border provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, where many types of educational institutions, formal and informal are found. The educational institutions have been set up by the Malay Muslims based on three approaches namely, (1) maintaining their Islamic traditional institutions, (2) adapting to the new academic system by combining it with traditional religious teaching, and (3) establishing a curriculum to provide general knowledge to children besides preserving the Malay-Muslim identity, customs and language.

The chaotic situation in the Muslims' provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat compelled the government to show an interest in Malay Muslim educational institutions especially unregistered institutions such as Tadika, Pondok and Ma'had (or Madrasah). Teachers of these institutions are known as "Cikgu", "Ustaz/ Ustazah", "Babo" and "Tok Guru" while their students are known as "Anak murid", "Budak sekolah", "Pelajar" and "Tok Pakir." These teachers are suspected to be behind the current instability throughout the three Southern provinces although there is no direct evidence to show that they are involved.

In the eyes of the government, graduates of these institutions have become heroes of independence in both Malaysia and Thailand. In Thailand, graduates of these institutions have been accused of taking part in the struggle for independence.[16] As a result, they are viewed as a social parasite and these institutions as centers for separatist movements. Unrests in Southern Thailand have often been suspected being the work of separatist movements which have been denied by the Malay Muslims.[17] These unrests are actually due to many factors including misunderstanding on the historical background of the Malay Muslim Minority in the South, poor disbursement of state to benefits and the people's belief of being discriminated by the state.[18]

Although there are different points of view between the Malay Muslims and the government, both agree on the significance of Tadika, Pondok and Madrasah. The Malay Muslims always view these institutions as the only center for seeking purely Islamic knowledge. Even though there are Islamic subjects taught at each school either at the primary or secondary level in the village, or in secondary schools nearby, these are deemed to be insufficient. On the other hand, the authorities want to interfere in their running in order to manage the educational system in the south.

Thus, it is of the utmost importance to understand the role of these institutions in the context of Thai history. I intend to focus on their nature of organization, their development and changes, factors that contribute to their existence, and their future prospect.

Study Objectives

The objectives of this study are as follows;

  1. To study the nature of organization of minority ethnic institutions relating to education
  2. To understand the development and changes in these institutions within the Thai historical context
  3. To trace the factors that led to their existence
  4. To analyze contemporary problems facing these institutions in the context of the contemporary political situation in the South.
  5. To share with the government sector or interested organizations knowledge and information in order to provide solutions to the problems of the ethnic minority in the South.

Scope of Study

In order to comprehend the topic, it clearly needs to detail the scopes of the study in terms of its content, period of study and geographical limitation of the study. On the matters of content, this study will focus on the educational institutions built and maintained by an ethnic minority, namely the Malay Muslim minority in Southern Thailand.

The word "ethnic" is actually used as a wide concept, covering factors that differentiate one group of people from others. The important distinctions include language, race, religion and color.[19] It can be observed that there are many ethnic minorities in the modern world. However, their situation may differ from one another. As mentioned earlier, ethnic minorities have their own racial identity which they always attempt to preserve as much as possible. Preservation of identities are often manifested through demands for equality, development, integration and autonomy.[20]

The term "institution" refers to the organization or society for helping people with special needs.[21] This study involves "educational institution." The educational institution may be in the form of schools, colleges, universities, or traditional and modern educational institutions. Their style of instruction is either formal or informal. In each society, it is imperative to own educational institution so that it will be the center for acquiring knowledge to the children and youth in that society.///// As education is seen as the path to improve the quality of life from one generation to another, each country needs to establish educational institutions for that purpose. Moreover, knowledge is very useful to human beings especially in the preservation of one's identity. As the government of majority does not provide any institutions consistent to its daily life, the ethnic minorities will invariably find ways to build their own unique institutions to preserve their identity.//// The study will focus on the educational institutions that are built and maintained by Malay Muslims in Southern Thailand. The discussion will only focus on those institutions where are not part of the national education system which through their syllabus and administration are targeted at preserving the Malay Muslim identity such as the Madrasah, Tadika, Kulliyah, Madrasah Tahfiz al-Qur'an and Dar al-Aitam (House for Treating Orphans).

The word "Southern Thailand" refers to southern part of Thailand, which consists of fourteen provinces, but this research, will focus only on three provinces which are located near the border of Thailand-Malaysia. They are Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.[22] These provinces are selected because of their differences with the other "Thais" of Thailand or even within the South itself as the people here have their own ways of life that is similar to the people of Malaysia especially those in the Northern states of Malaysia.

The study will span from the 1930s up to the 1990s. This period was selected as it witnessed considerable changes in the nature of educational institutions in Southern Thailand. In 1930s, there was a major change in the system of Islamic education among the Malay Muslims in Southern Thailand when the madrasah system was firstly established during the beginning of the 1930s. This Islamic schooling system was then developed into various kinds of educational institutions while many of the madrasah themselves adapted the "Islamic Private School" system, where an integrated curriculum was used. The madrasah system itself and its graduates contributed immensely to the changes in the Malay Muslims community. Since the role of such institutions were still prominent in the 1990s, the study must be concluded in this period to ensure a comprehensive of the Malay Muslims educational institutions.

In conclusion, the scope of the study in terms of contents and geography will include the Malay-Muslims as an "ethnic minority" and the three provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat of "Southern Thailand", respectively. The scope of period will start from the 1930s up to 1990s.

Literature Review

The A academic works on Malay Muslims ethnic minority in the South of Thailand who arwere primarily concentrated in the provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat and, can be traced back to 1950s when the Sejarah Kerajaan Melayu Patani (the History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani), written by Ibrahim Syukri in 1958, was first published. The publication of this academic tome was aimed at raising awareness about Patani's historical genesis and subsequent development.[23] In outlining his thesis, the writer addressed a local audience, within an intimate context of shared values, and for political purposes, in order to persuade, mobilize, and inform his fellow brethren.[24] Besides explicating the origins and rise of the Patani kingdom and its subsequent decline, the political developments during the late 1940's until the early 1950's were also extensively delineated.

Teeuw and Wyattwho (1970) compiled a translation and analysis of Hikayat Patani, the classical text outlining the historical development of Patani. During their analysis, they insightfully noted that Hikayat Patani or the Short History of Patani was a melding of both historical fact and legendary tales :

That is to say, however, that the text is not a mere chronological enumeration of facts, but it is a story in which the author worked very selectively and with a clear aim in mind. We have reasons to believe that moreover, he did not limit himself to historical facts, and that in his story, both fact and fiction occur side by side, although this distinction may have been irrelevant to the author himself.[25]

The great demonstrations in downtown Pattani and the violent crackdown by the government on the protestors in December 1975 to January 1976, drew global attention to the issues plaguing Southern Thailand. Consequently since the end of the 1970's up to the beginning of 1990's, a plethora of articles, books and academic works were generated by both local and foreign scholars. Three major reasons can be cited for this prolific output. Firstly, the successful overthrow of the dictatorship by student demonstrators in Bangkok in 1973, led to the emancipation of thought and the subsequent expansion of academic freedom, which contributed to a highly intellectual and critical analysis of events plaguing the South. Secondly, the emergence of a breed of new scholars of Muslim and Non-Muslim descents from the 1980's up to the 1990's prompted an explosion of intensive research into the issue, which in turn generated numerous academic tracts and in-depth scholarly works. Using English as a medium of expression, they were able to draw global attention to what had hitherto been a largely obscure domestic problem. Finally, the 1975 demonstrations by themselves enginenedered a political reawakening in Pattani that in turn spawned numerous militant and political organizations such as the Barisan Revolusi Nasioanl (BRN), Barisan Nasional Pembabasan Patani (BNPP), and PULO who were largely responsible for initiating and strategizing the local insurgency against the Thai government's political and socio-cultural hegemony over the region. This drew the attention of scholars from home and abroad to the nascent conflict and thus fostered critical analysis of the situation.

During 1990's, research into the political scenario in Patani underwent a transformation as the Malay Muslim politypulation embraced a democratic pathway to resolving the Patani issue. Some of the Muslim politicians posed major political positions in the Thai cabinets. A Muslim group called "wahdah" had played a lot of roles in running projects realizing the importance of their cultural and religious identity.

In recent years there are many studies on Southern Thailand focusing on Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat especially by post-graduate students in Thailand and abroad.[26] The present unrest also manages to direct the attention of academicians to conduct research on Southern Thailand. Since early 2004 up to the present, there are more than fifty books written about Southern Thailand in various perspectives seeking to analyse in particular the ethnic unrest. This list does not include the large number of articles, documents and reports that have been completed and published.

Observation on the works and researches on the Malay Muslims in the South of Thailand can be said that the issues of this Ethnic-Minority are the major source of description. It then depends on the (researchers) conductors to go in depth ion the fields they need to investigate. The fields of studies are manynumerous including politics, as a main field, history, politics, linguistics, culture, socio-economic, sociology and anthropology, and education.

Here, the mainstream disciplines of academic works on the ethnic-minority of the Malay Muslims will be described. History, politics, sociology and anthropology, language and culture, and education belong to the mainstream fields of the works to be reviewed.


There are clearly are no academic works on the ethnic-minority of the Malay Muslims in the South of Thailand, which have no mention to the historical background of this study area. It depends largely on the knowledge of authors and the data that are really closed to them. Most of the authors referred to the historical background into two ways whether namely to refer the local history meaning history produced by the Malay Muslims or refer to the Thai historiography history emphasizing on this old territory. In the case of the local history, they will trace from at least three sources namely, Tarikh Fatani, Hikayat Patani and Sejarah Kerajaan Melayu Patani (History of the Malay Kingdom of Patani). Based on two different sources, writingers its of history had never avoidsed from the segregation in the history which according to Chaiwat, it becomes "the violence in the history" and "the deceptive history of Patani".[27] The distinguished sources of history will become the different understandings on the status of the Malay Muslims. This especially concerns with the issues of how far the Malay Kingdom of Patani was acting as the independent state of Patani in the past and the justice of the Thai statekingdom to conclude this region into the portion of Thailand during the beginning of the 20th century.

Other Aacademic works relating to the historical discipline with the exception of Hikayat Patani and Sejarah Kerajaan Melayu Patani, consists of Nik Anuar Nik Muhmud's Anglo-Thai Relation, 1945-1954, Mohd. Zamberi Abdul Malik's Umat Islam Patani : Sejarah dan Politik, and Ahmad Fathy al-Fatany's Pengantar Sejarah Patani. Among others,By far, the most prominent work is conducted by Nik Anuar Nik Mahmud for his PhD. thesis at the University of Hull.

Although the topic is not exactly shown in the history of Patani, but the relation of the British and Thailand during that period was not other than the area of Northern Malaya and the land of the old Kingdom of Patani, the present three provinces of the South. After the Bangkok agreement in 1909, the Malay speaking area became totally part of Thailand and then made a plenty of problems. The British position on the Malay Muslim troubles depended on their own gain which changed following to the political situations. During World War II, the British had an initiation to incorporate the three border provinces into the then Malaya but when the war ended, the British needed a lot of assistance from the Thai government especially the need for rice from Thailand. The strong connections between the British and Thailand became more increased when the communism came to Southeast Asia particularly to Malaya during end of 1940's and the British really needed mutual action to the communism movement that was very active at the border of Thai-Malaya.[28]

While tTwo books on Patani and written by two descendents of Patani staying in Malaysia, namely Ahmad Fathy al-Fatany's Pengantar Sejarah Patani (Introduction to the History of Patani) and Mohd. Zamberi Abdul Malek's Umat Islam Patani : Sejarah dan Politik (Muslims in Patani : A History and Politics) had their own their way of descriptive analysis on the waywhich are not stoo far different. Based mostly on the secondary sources and only English and Malay sources, makesde these two works weak in terms of the historical source fulfillment. However, Zamberi Abdul Malek's work had succeeded to conclude the history of Patani since the period of Langkasuka, the long period of the Patani Sultanate, the incorporation of Patani into the Thai statekingdom, up to the current incidents around the decades of 1970's- to the 1980's. In contrast, the work written by Ahmad Fathy al-Fathany can only be trace so farin smaller details compared with Mohd. Zamberi Abdul Malek's.


The academic works on the Malay Muslims are unable to avoid the two issues that matters namely politics and history. These two things are really related with each other. There are also many works that go in depth to the political discipline that the researcher cannot mention all. Among the major works and researches include Surin Pitsuwan's Islam and Malay Nationalism : A Case Study of the Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand, Chaiwat Satha-Anand's Islam and Violence : A Case Study of Violent Events in the Four Southern Provinces, Thailand, 1976-1981, Wan Kadir Che Man's Muslim Separatism : The Moros of Southern Philippines and the Malays of Southern Thailand, , Panomporn Anurongsa's Political Integration Policy in Thailand : The Case of the Malay Muslim Minority, Ahmad Omar's Chapakia's Thai Politics and Struggle of the Malay Society and Suria Saniwa bin Mahmud's De-radicalization of Minority Dissent : A Case of Malay-Muslim in Southern Thailand, 1980-1990.

One of Tthe mosthighest quality work on the Malay Muslims is done by Surin Pitsuwan for his PhD dissertation at Harvard University. He portrayed the issue of ethnic nationalism by linking the two main factors that have helped sustain the people's characters with the developments in variousthroughout the different periods of Thailand's political history. Islam and Malay ethnicity constitute the "primordial ties" or the "unreflective" sense of collective selfhood for them.[29] Pitsuwan describes the deteriorating socio-economic conditions of Southern Thailand where these conditions continue to influence relations between the Muslim minority in the South and the Buddhist authorities in the North. The study highlights the tussle between the British and the Thai for control over a region that eventually resulted in the drawing of boundaries between British Malaya and Thailand in 1902 withichh incorporated the region into the portion of Thailand. The political events which took place from 1902 up to 1982 decisively transformed the socio-economic structures of Thailand. Through a series of historical "accidents", the Malay Muslims of Southern Thailand "have been living under the jurisdiction of a government that can hardly claim their loyalty."[30]

Pitsuwan concludes that the strongest bond that binds the Malay Muslims together has beenis Islam. In fact, this dissertation can be seen as an effort to explain the role of Islam in the long process of thefor the independent struggle of the Malay Muslims within the "changing economic, political and other social circumstances" of the Thai political history.[31]

Chaiwat tells a story of how the Malay Muslims who use violence as a means of struggle and utilizeing Islam to justify their actions. However, the possibility of non-violent action does exist in Islamic Ttradition and therefore a creative interpretation of Islam is much needed.[32] Che Man's thesis indicates thea different story because he uses the comparative method to compare two different Muslims separatismt movements. Che Man concludes that these movements basically ais a type of ethnic minority community which resulted from the incorporation of autonomous peoples or tribes inhabiting a hitherto alien territory by a state. For these people, separation becomes a political possibility because of a socio-historical logic, the coincidence of geography and cultural plurality, the long distance from the center of authority, and the support of an external community.[33]

Panomporn Anurongsa emphasizes on the implementation of political integration policy into the Malay Muslim minority. She finds that the policies of the different governments since the late nineteenth century to 1982 are the parts of the trajectory that the Thai society has taken and be characterized as a process of modernization. She indicates that the most important approach of the government in nation-building is ensconcing the Thai Muslims inespecially those who are willing to accept Thai legitimacy. Policies of education, economics, administrative reforms and security, work towards theise goals and those who do not comply with thiese, such as "the orthodox Muslims, and theological graduates from abroad, the separatists", whom are politically suppressed.[34]

Ahmad Omar's Chapakia's Thai Politics and Struggle of the Malay Society and Suria Saniwa bin Mahmud's De-radicalization of Minority Dissent : A Case of Malay-Muslim in Southern Thailand, 1980-1990 examine the similar matters which is about the Muslim Politycies in the Thai parliament. Suria Saniwa describes, using qualitative and quantitative approach, the changing patterns of Malay Muslim politics by struggling through the system of parliamentary democracy while Ahmad Omar's thesis is not stoo far from Suria's but only the qualitative method was used. The main differentce is that Suria quite goes in depth into the "wahdah" group while the other was telldescribing ing the Muslim politics in general through Thailand's political history.

Sociology and Anthropology

Actually the academic works related to these fields had been conducted as early as the historical discipline. During the 1960's, Thomas M. Fraser had investigated the community of Rusembilan and published two books to describe his deep study of this seashore village. Thomas M. Fraser achievesd to picture athe Malay community life of the Rusembilan village, a seacoast village with fishery as the main source of its economicsy. Thomas outlines a village system and views both the strengths and weaknesses in its operation. In particular, his examination of the progress of modernization by the introduction of motorboats to tow the fishing vessels to the fishing the grounds is an illuminating illustration of the way in which technological development is affected by social factors. Generally, theis study can be seen as the circle of Malay life contributing to the understanding of the Malay Muslim people.

Chavivun Prachuabmoh's the Role of Women in Maintaining Ethnic Identity and Boundaries : A Case of Thai Muslims (The Malay Speaking Group in Southern Thailand) is one of the other major works in this field and need to be reviewed. She indicates that the Southern Thai Muslims maintain their distinctive ethnicity through various social organizations. Through socialization, women are more influencetial on the children through a more intimate and emotional process of imparting, teaching and learning ethnicity.[35] Islam becomes the source of ethnic identity and boundary maintenance while it provides the mechanisms for organizing an ethnic group.[36]


An important research in this field is Seni Madmarn's Language Use and Loyalty Among the Muslim-Malays of Southern Thailand. His study found that the Malay language is strongly associated with the notion of the Malay ethnicity and the religion of Islam. This language not only serves as a means of intra-group communication, but also links their present existence with their glorious past, reminding them of their history as a separate sovereign politynation. It is considered a source of cultural heritage as well. His study gives furthers details on how the Malay Muslims maintain their language and the home and religious institutions are the two main sources of Malay maintenance. Besides these, his research advicses the government to promote the Malay language in Southern Thailand as the "official" language at the regional level so that the people will not have the fear of losing their mother-tongue. Without this fear, they will be more willing to acquire the Thai language.[37]


In the field of education, it is necessary to categoryize the study into two main aspects. tThe first one is that the research on the national education policies being implementinged into the Malay Muslim society. It is likely to describe the matters around the reaction between the government and the Malay Muslims themselves. The national education policies meansing the compulsory education as applied by the Thai government into thefor Thai children whether at the level of primary or secondary. While aAnother aspect is about the educational institutions, which everwere established by the Malay Muslims, where then the government through the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Education had long tried to sanction in order to easily overlookcontrol their task. Thiese kind of institutions exactly goes tolike the Islamic Private School where found many throughout the three provinces of Southern Thailand nowadaysup to the present day.

The first kind of study can be seen from some works especially those written during the 1980's. Among others are Uthai Dulyakasem's Education and Ethnic Nationalism : A Study of the Muslim Malays in Southern Siam and Kanniga Sachakul's Education as a Means for National Integration : Historical and Comparative Study of Chinese and Muslim Assimilation in Thailand.

Though Uthai's study is about the education, he utilizes historical, quantitative methods (panel analysis, cross-sectional analysis, and pooled time series data using regression analysis as a major tool) and qualitative methods (field observation and interviews) as part of the framework informed by an "ecological-competitive model". This model posits that economical and political modernization create the conditions under which ethnicity is seen as the most viable and effective political instrument for the peripheral to oppose the penetration from the center.[38]

He reveals that the degree of ethnic nationalism is not only related to the aspects of the modernization processes, but also to the development of the particular history of the communities and their linguistic identification. His most intriguing finding is that the ethnic political conflict has led to an expansion of modern education because the government believes, along the lines of some of the theses mentioned above, that education would help integrate or assimilate the "Muslim Malays" into the "Siam" proper. However, the expansion of education into Malay Muslim areas has not only failed to bring about peaceful assimilation, "but it also intensified, if not created, ethnic conflicts between the Muslim Malays and the central government"[39]

In the same aspect, Kanniga Sachakul attempts to compare the use of education to assimilate the Chinese and the Malays with the use of education to assimilate the Muslims in Thailand. Among other things, she tries to examine the central government's efforts to "solve" the ethnic problems and to investigate the educational programmes designed by the central government for ethnic minorities. Kanniga finds that the "Malays" have striven to maintain their religion, language, and cultural identity and have resisted policies and administrative practices intended to foster assimilation into the larger Thai society. She then concludes that educational policies, like most government policies, have been greatly affected by political influences which are intricately linked to the issue of national security. The government, which requires the Malay Muslims to be able to speak Thai and has pressured them to be loyal to Thailand, is then was recommended to be "flexible and compromising" and to work "toward integration rather than total assimilation." Without a trace of irony, she recommends that the Thai government should also provide the Malays with ample opportunities to be educated at all levels.[40]

For the second portion of the educational discipline related to the Malay Muslims in the South, two major studies will be reviewed, namely Hasan Madmarn's Traditional Muslim Institutions in Southern Thailand: A Critical Study of Islamic Education and Arabic Influence in the Pondok and Madrasah Systems of Patani and Sompong Panklao's Government Policies in Southern Border Provinces' Thai Muslim Communities.

Madmarn examines mostly on how far the Arabic language makes an influence into the Islamic education in Southern Thailand. Through tThe development of the Islamic education in this region began from the form of traditional institution, the pondok, and then transformed into the new system, which is the madrasah that then develops to Islamic Private Schools where the mutual curriculum is implemented. He also states furthers on how the Islamic Studies programme at the university level had been developed in Pattani. With the adaptation of the pondok and madrasah into the national education reform programme of the government, the students of the Islamic Private Schools could develop their language skills in both Thai and Malay.[41] Sompong Panklao's Government Policies in Southern Border Provinces' Thai Muslim Communities finds that Thai Muslim communities in the southern border provinces possessed and exhibited a unique identity and they were noted for their strong and cohesive culture, a product of age-old history. This uniqueness afforded them extraordinary politically bargaining power against the central Thai statekingdom. The educational policies run by the government throughout the three periods (1932-1959, 1959-1973, 1973-1992), were essentially driven by "security dimension", "development dimension" and "participation development."[42]

From the above reviews, it can be concluded that most works mainly focus mainlyon the socio-political issues, language, cultures and the questions around functional identity. The scholars, Muslims or non-Muslims, are interested in these topics rather than the advancement of the Islamic Intellectual system that was clearly rooted in southern Thailand sincefor a long time. The Islamic educational system built, maintained and managed the schools according to the needs of preservation of the Malay Muslims' identity and have never been thoroughly discussed.

Through this space, I will try to find out such research by focusing on the transformation of pondok into madrasah system but not to go ahead to Islamic Private School even though many madrasahs have been changed into Islamic Private School. It will also examine the original madrasah (no national curriculum is used) system throughout the three provinces meanwhileand will study the other mainstream institutions established by the Malay Muslim because of the success of the madrasah system during the decades of 1930's to 1990's.


This research will use a historical approach. The data will be compiled from both primary and secondary the various sources, both primary and secondary. Other Several interviews will be conducted in Southern Thailand. additional source comes from several interviews among the personalities involved in the educational institutions in the three Southern Border Provinces of Thailand.

Both primary and secondary sources are in Malay (Jawi and Romanise forms), English and Thai. These materials are located in Malaysia especially at the Universiti Sains Malaysia library (Hamzah Sendut Library). In Thailand Ithe researcher will also conduct research at the National Library of Thailand and the National Archive of Thailand which are two main repositories for the Thai materials.

Data for this research will be gathered from official (government) documents, as well as journals, articles, political party memoranda, newspapers, and studies undertaken by various individuals relating to the social, political, cultural, and educational conditions prevailing in the country. Official documents include Educational Reports, Acts, and Ordinances either directly or indirectly dealing with education; Journal of Educational Statistics issued by the Thailand Ministry of Education; the various editions of the Thai Constitutions; and report ofrom the various educational authorities. Also included are statements, speeches, and records representing the responses of both the Malay Muslims and the government.

The archive sources basically specified the primary connection between three southern border provinces and the Haramayn of Saudi Arabia in terms of knowledge transformation and educational institution. In order to conclude the complete development of the educational institutions, oral source through in-depth interviews are necessary fr o m personalities who were directly involve d in their initial establishment and were mostly among the founders or at least those who were at the same generation as such people.

Prior to th is writing , most of the development of the Malay Muslim educational institutions refers mostly to the "pondok" and then the "Islamic Private School." It is often found that the Islamic private school came from the development of the pondok through the change of government policy towards the pondok. However, based on various documents of the archive sources found in this study, it indicates that only "madrasah" (schooling system of Islamic approach), had firstly proved to be the "Islamic Private School." And it was found that such madrasah s were influenced by the same kind of institution s found in the Haramayn.

The secondary sources gather broadly both in Thailand and in Malaysia . Parts of them come from some personal collections. They support so much on the primary data especially on the matters of the overview and understanding of the southern Thailand at the beginning of the 20 th century and role of Haramayn to the establishment of the educational institutions in Southern Thailand.

Organization of the Study

This research will be divided into six main chapters. It starts with a general information on its significant case which includes the background, objectives, methodology, literature review and organization of the study. Chapter tTwo provides a historical background so as to understand issues concerned with the educational institutions in Southern Thailand. It will touch on politics, in particular, and education both nationally and traditionally. The impact of the Haramayn, or the two prohibited lands, Maecca and Madinah, towards the establishment of the Malay Muslim institutions will be set in the cChapter tThree while in the next chapter the researcher will go in depth into the historical development of the madrasah system of the first and the second generation. In the cChapter fFour it will examine some major and minor institutions which include the Tadika, Kulliyah and Raudah as major institutions and Center for the Treatment of Orphans and asso on. The deep analyzeresearch was done on the development of the educational institutions in the past and the existence of the various institutions. The analysisresearch will also regard their discuss the relation tof the Malay Muslims in one side and the statekingdom on the other side. It ends with cChapter sSix, which is going to summarize the findings of the research.

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