Pulo elects Kasturi as its new president


A senior figure in the exiled Malay leaders has been promoted to the position of Patani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo) president, according to a statement released from the group's website.

According to a statement, Pulo's Foreign Affairs Chief and Vice President, Kasturi Mahkota, has been voted to become the new president of the group.
The statement did not give say why Noor Abdulrahman, the man who Kasturi replaced, has stepped down from the presidency.
According to the press statement, Kasturi's position was mandated by the “majority votes of Pulo Central Committee members”.
Kasturi has been a key figure behind an ongoing secret dialogue process with a secret team from the National Security Council (NSC) since 2006 during the government of Surayud Chulanont.
The Bangkok government has never publicly acknowledge the secret dialogue with this particular Pulo faction or any other long standing separatist groups but it was an open secret that various Thai agencies were secretly conducting talks with various Pulo factions and other long standing separatist groups.
Since 2004, various government agencies, including the Army, Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC), the police, retired military generals, former Malaysian and Indonesian leaders, and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) have also tried to start a peace process of their own.
Beside Kasturi, other senior members in the movement also maintained that they are the leader of Pulo as an organisation.
These figures include Samsudine Khan and Rusdie Yi-ngor, as well as a few other exiled figures like Lukman Bin Lima.
Pulo is one of the long standing separatist group that emerged in the 1960s to carve out a separate homeland for the Malay Muslims in the southernmost provinces.
The organisation was founded by Tengku Biro Kotonila, a descendent of a Patani Malay royal family. Tengku Biro passed away in June 2008 while living abroad in Damascus, Syria, the intellectual center of the Pulo movement.
Tengku Biro founded Pulo in 1968 while studying at the Aligarh Muslim University in India. He started his career in exiled as Pulo president. But over the years, various Pulo factions emerged but all continue to look to Tengku Biro as their nominal leader.
Pulo as a movement went under observers' radar screen in the early 1990s after its foot soldiers put down their weapons and returned to their respective villages.
Following the emergence of a new wave insurgency violence in early 2004, Tengkur Bira and movement returned to the radar screen of many observers and analysts.
But since his death, no one individual could effectively unite the various factions who continue to use the same organisational name.