11 July 2024

The Thai Government has set aside 80 million baht for the renovation of seventeen 100-year-old Buddhist temples, in the restive Deep South, which have fallen into disrepair.

Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek, said today (Monday), that ten spiritually significant temples in Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat provinces will be renovated as the first priority, using a budget of about 63 million baht.

In the next step, seven temples and ancient sites in more remote areas of the four provinces will be renovated, using the balance of the budget.

There are, however, 138 temples in the Muslim-predominated provinces which are in need of repair and renovation, as they have been neglected due to decades of armed conflict waged by southern insurgents seeking self-rule.

Rachada said that the renovation plan for the old temples is needed so that Buddhists, who are in the minority in the region, can perform normal religious activities to promote diversity and peaceful co-existence between peoples of various faiths.

The renovation work will be a joint effort by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, the National Office of Buddhism, the Fine Arts Department, the Fourth Army Region and other relevant agencies.

Rachada said the government is also conserving ancient masjids and has set up a museum of Islamic cultural heritage and a centre for the study of the Koran at the Samanmit Wittaya School in Narathiwat.