Malaysia election: Siamese community split into two camps

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As election fever rages in Kedah, calls for equal bumiputera rights are growing louder from the Siamese community in Malaysia.
For generations, the Siamese community has stood behind the BN government. Mr Sommad Iruang said he would remain loyal to BN, just like his forefathers had been.
For generations, the Siamese community has stood behind the BN government. Mr Sommad Iruang said he would remain loyal to BN, just like his forefathers had been. ST PHOTO: ARLINA ARSHAD
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PENDANG (Kedah) • As election fever rages in Kedah, calls for equal bumiputera rights are growing louder from the Siamese community in Malaysia.

Known as Orang Siam, or "people of Siam" after Thailand's former name, many live in villages near the Malaysian-Thai border and work as rubber or rice farmers. Mostly Buddhists, they celebrate Vesak and traditional Thai festivals, such as Songkran and Loy Kratong.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2018, with the headline Malaysia election: Siamese community split into two camps. Subscribe