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Who Says Election Promises Must Translate To Policies?: Thai Talk


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THAI TALK

Who says election promises must translate to policies?

By Suthichai Yoon

The Nation

30163576-01.jpg

It was almost as if both the government and opposition had struck a secret deal - that both sides would treat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as a special guest during the new government's policy debate. She was to be left alone in the ensuing House verbal war.

PM Yingluck read the 44-page policy statement in two hours. She gave a few brief statements, one of which was to insist that she wasn't working for the benefit of any particular person. But the rest of the two-day parliamentary debate proceeded as if she wasn't there.

None of the opposition MPs had any critical remarks against Premier Yingluck, either because they considered her too nice and innocent about the dirty world of politics, or because she had had no real role in drawing up Pheu Thai's platform in the first place.

Overall, though, the debate did offer some glimpses into the reasons why what you heard during the election campaign was never to be taken seriously once the victorious politicians were put in office by your vote.

Kittirat na Ranong, the deputy premier and commerce minister, serving as the Yingluck government's "economic czar", put up a tough defence on the economic package. He did take on opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva with a vengeance. His soft tone and demeanour could be deceptive. In fact, he did engage Abhisit in an impressive verbal battle over the merits and demerits of the Democrats' rice price guarantee scheme and Pheu Thai's paddy pledging scheme.

Kittirat might have found it almost impossible to backtrack on Pheu Thai's most controversial election promises: the Bt300 daily minimum wage for "all workers in all provinces" and a Bt15,000 per month minimum salary for all university graduates. But then he knew he was placed in an unenviable position, having to defend a policy he'd had no role in drawing up in the first place.

But he must be given credit for not running away from the confrontation. Instead he decided to face the challenge head-on, knowing full well that he couldn't possibly convince the whole country that his government was not trying to wriggle out of the traps set up by their own political strategists.

Kittirat could have hidden behind Deputy Premier Chalerm Yoobamrung's earlier claim during the debate that a "policy statement" during an election campaign could not be interpreted as an "election promise". But he knew his credibility would be severely tainted if he chose to follow the demagogue's line.

Kittirat tried to salvage the government's position by arguing that what the government really meant wasn't "minimum wage" but rather "minimal income" of Bt300 "in accordance with their experience and productivity" or something along that line. He used the same explanation for the Bt15,000 salary pledge.

He then proceeded to make it clear that the government was taking the initiative as a major employer. In other words, the private sector would decide for itself whether it would join the bandwagon. After all, if one talks about a "minimum wage" in the strictest sense, it would have to be fixed by a tripartite committee (representing employers, employees and the government), and the government simply couldn't lay down the rates arbitrarily.

When Korn Chatikavanij, former finance minister, took on his successor, Thirachai Puvanartnaranuban, I thought it would be a good match. The issues of fiscal discipline, inflation and tax collection were the kind of substantial debate I was hoping to hear. When Korn "warned" Thirachai about former premier Thaksin Shinnawatra's tax burden, the latter danced around the issue, "thanking" Korn for the friendly advice to not interfere with the Revenue Department's taxation responsibility.

But Chalerm, the deputy premier who said he had been assigned to respond on the prime minister's behalf on drugs and judicial questions, stole the show by engaging Korn on Thaksin. The irony was hard to ignore. Pheu Thai executives had warned the Democrats to avoid dragging Thaksin into the policy statement debate, arguing that the opposition should stick to details of the Yingluck government's policy issues. But Chalerm more or less turned most of his rhetoric into a vigorous defence of Thaksin.

And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-25

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Chalerm doesn't need rules from the Party or anyone else as he is a law unto him self. The PT Party have a unbeatable majority and can do whatever suits them. Whether this is good or bad, right or wrong is inconsequential. Most people where I come from (southern USA), and from my experience in Thailand, most Thais, are not following these debates. I think the debates are good therapy for the Democrats as they can air their grievances in public and feel better about themselves. This is nice 'theater' but the real action is taking place behind closed doors and on long-distance telephone lines.

I think we have seen the last election in Thailand for many years. Either Dr. Thaksin returns to power and runs Thailand as Hun Sen runs Cambodia or the military takes over and doesn't have elections until the Thaksin forces are competely neutralized. I don't hold any hope of Thailand becoming a 'Western' style democracy for many years, if ever. Sadly, the poor will always suffer most as either scenario will bring World scorn on Thailand and hurt the economy. The modern world doesn't like dictators or military juntas and tolerates them less and less each passing year. Col. Ghaddafi wasn't a threat to NATO nations but they spent billions they could ill afford to overthrow him.

My Thai friends are my friends first and yellow, red, or neutral, second. The bright spot is many of my Thai friends feel the same about their friends; it is the media that amplifies divisions in Thailand to give the impression there can be no middle ground (only winners and losers). Most Thais I have met are laid back and peace-loving and want to get on with their lives as smoothly as possible. There are several revolutions going on under the surface in Thailand. They are political, social, economic, and religious. The media is fixated on the political but they are all intertwined. All these social forces shold be discussed but that is not the Thai way so we wait to see what fate has in store to Thailand. My own country is more corrupt than Thailand but we don't face dictatorship or juntas and for that I am grateful. 'Chawp Muang Thai, Rak khon Thai! Good luck, Thai people.

Edited by rametindallas
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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

So just what about the sentence is untrue ? B)

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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

So just what about the sentence is untrue ? B)

The quote is suggesting that something is being done, but does not in anyway provide any evidence ... just a rumor , another one... the rest of the essay, because it is hard to call it news is filled with assumptions and personal views ... for me this is not News...this is purely propaganda , nothing more nothing less . I am sure it cater to a large clientele in this forum that shares the same opinions ,,, but I prefer News, that are News, based on facts and not assumptions.rolleyes.gif

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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

Yes the content does little for reconciliation.

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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

So just what about the sentence is untrue ? B)

The quote is suggesting that something is being done, but does not in anyway provide any evidence ... just a rumor , another one... the rest of the essay, because it is hard to call it news is filled with assumptions and personal views ... for me this is not News...this is purely propaganda , nothing more nothing less . I am sure it cater to a large clientele in this forum that shares the same opinions ,,, but I prefer News, that are News, based on facts and not assumptions.rolleyes.gif

How are you reading "that something is being done" in "Yingluck said very little" and "Thaksin was telling"? No rumour in that. It's exactly what happened.

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"And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be."

Last sentence in this The Nation contribution says it all ...another biased piece of anti Thaksin propaganda ... somebody must pay these guys ! And one thing is for sure , it does not help bringing about any kind of reconciliation ....

So just what about the sentence is untrue ? B)

The quote is suggesting that something is being done, but does not in anyway provide any evidence ... just a rumor , another one... the rest of the essay, because it is hard to call it news is filled with assumptions and personal views ... for me this is not News...this is purely propaganda , nothing more nothing less . I am sure it cater to a large clientele in this forum that shares the same opinions ,,, but I prefer News, that are News, based on facts and not assumptions.rolleyes.gif

How are you reading "that something is being done" in "Yingluck said very little" and "Thaksin was telling"? No rumour in that. It's exactly what happened.

Sure? Were you there? What exactly Thaksin was telling at the Correspondents Club?

I don't even know what Yingluck was talking about and how long she spoke. Was it really that little?

I just reads something what Abhisit thinks about and that he said that the government must restore people's trust in politicians. :)

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Sure? Were you there? What exactly Thaksin was telling at the Correspondents Club?

I don't even know what Yingluck was talking about and how long she spoke. Was it really that little?

I just reads something what Abhisit thinks about and that he said that the government must restore people's trust in politicians. :)

So you didn't bother reading the OP or any other news?

Maybe you should read a bit more before you bother commenting.

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"It was almost as if both the government and opposition had struck a secret deal - that both sides would treat Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as a special guest during the new government's policy debate. She was to be left alone in the ensuing House verbal war."

Well what do you expect? She's a woman. No way any Thai male is going to permit her to express an opinion, let alone actually argue with him!

(OH! That's assuming she has any points of view or know's what's happening.)

R

Edited by robsamui
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And while PM Yingluck said very little in terms of explaining what her main policies are, Thaksin was telling the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo exactly what his sister's government's agenda is going to be.

Hilarious...I know I know, "give her a chance she's very talented" :D

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A very good post rametindallas; sadly, one of the very few sensible ones I've seen on this subject in the last few years on TV, and I agree entirely with your conclusions.

It looks as though the whitewashing of the Thaksin clan has begun, with Potjaman's tax evasion conviction now quashed. Though I only read the English translation, the court's reasoning looks farcical and sycophantic, and in itself will do nothing but raise further calls from some parties for the military to once again get involved.

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NATIONAL

MPs ask: When is a campaign pledge a govt policy promise?

By Kornchanok Raksaseri

The Nation

Published on August 25, 2011

On the second day of the Cabinet's policy declaration, the Opposition continued to attack the government's policies as being different from those announced during the election campaign. A Pheu Thai MP, on the other hand, said promises declared in election campaigns should not be bound to political-party policies or those of the government.

"Policies in the election campaign are not the government's policies," Nan MP Cholnan Sikaew said, and this should not be an issue for the opposition's attack. "Political-party promises should not be taken as the government's … I have listened patiently [to the debate] for two days, and the discussion has been only around this repeatedly."

From yesterday morning, MPs and senators took turns to discuss government issues declared and discussed on Tuesday.

In the afternoon, Democrat MP Satit Wongnongtaey said the Pheu Thai Party had won the election with the support of grass-roots people. But while it used a discourse on "class war" to draw votes from the poor, it included too few poverty-eradication policies in its administration plan.

"Which part of [the policies] reflect the issues you [Pheu Thai Party] raised that were not empty discourse? They lured the mass to support you and became the base for capitalists to take over power in the political party," Satit said.

He said the government had declared it would open opportunities for accommodation for the poor, for job creation, for fair revenue distribution for the majority, to create justice and reduce disparity in the use of natural resources. But the policy proposals lacked structure or concrete measures for poverty eradication.

Satit, a former PM's office minister, said the government should continue the previous government's policies, including housing projects for slum inhabitants and tax restructuring to limit possession of land.

Reacting to Satit's remarks, Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan said the government had not deceived the people.

"The opposition should have known the Yingluck Shinawatra government could begin its administration only after the policy declaration," he said.

Jatuporn said the Democrat threat to impeach Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul over the foreign movements of Yingluck's brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was persecution.

"Until today, the government had not been working for even a day. How can it be accused of deceiving people?"

As several MPs reacted to Jatuporn's statement, the chairman of the meeting told him to stop speaking, saying: "Understood, Jatuporn. Please sit down. All in Parliament now understand."

The next speaker, Democrat MP Somboon Utaiwienkul, proved to be the last straw for Cholnan, who said the Democrats were speaking outside the debate topics.

Somboon said policy drafts came from promises made during the campaign before the July 3 election. The promises and the campaign posters helped Pheu Thai get seats in Parliament. "People started to have hope," Somboon said.

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-- The Nation 2011-08-25

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A very good post rametindallas; sadly, one of the very few sensible ones I've seen on this subject in the last few years on TV, and I agree entirely with your conclusions.

It looks as though the whitewashing of the Thaksin clan has begun, with Potjaman's tax evasion conviction now quashed. Though I only read the English translation, the court's reasoning looks farcical and sycophantic, and in itself will do nothing but raise further calls from some parties for the military to once again get involved.

Just follow the Thai example of Buddhist acceptance and events won't stress your mind, body, spirit too much.

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A very good post rametindallas; sadly, one of the very few sensible ones I've seen on this subject in the last few years on TV, and I agree entirely with your conclusions.

It looks as though the whitewashing of the Thaksin clan has begun, with Potjaman's tax evasion conviction now quashed. Though I only read the English translation, the court's reasoning looks farcical and sycophantic, and in itself will do nothing but raise further calls from some parties for the military to once again get involved.

Sadly I could not agree more. Excellent post remetindallas. Sums it up fully.

The Shinawatra clan whitewashing has been in full swing though for some time. Potjaman's cleansing is just another thai kowtow to the new power brokers - thai corruption and servitude at its best. I think though that this time around Thaksin will be aware of where it all when wrong last time and look to wrestle the Army control away from the loyal Queens Brigade regiment. If he achieves that then the thai poor who voted for these thieves will soon have about the same equality of life for many years ahead as those across their borders.

Edited by Roadman
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Kittirat tried to salvage the government's position by arguing that what the government really meant wasn't "minimum wage" but rather "minimal income" of Bt300 "in accordance with their experience and productivity" or something along that line. He used the same explanation for the Bt15,000 salary pledge.

So can someone fill me in on the true meaning of the above statement,

What does this mean?

"Minimal Income! as opposed to "minimum wage"

1. 300 Bahts per hour?

2. 300 Bahts per day?

3. 300 Bahts per month?

And who will be the judge as to: "in accordance with their experience and productivity"

Redshirts first,and do take your time!

Edited by MAJIC
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Kittirat tried to salvage the government's position by arguing that what the government really meant wasn't "minimum wage" but rather "minimal income" of Bt300 "in accordance with their experience and productivity" or something along that line. He used the same explanation for the Bt15,000 salary pledge.

So can someone fill me in on the true meaning of the above statement,

What does this mean?

"Minimal Income! as opposed to "minimum wage"

1. 300 Bahts per hour?

2. 300 Bahts per day?

3. 300 Bahts per month?

And who will be the judge as to: "in accordance with their experience and productivity"

Redshirts first,and do take your time!

Red-shirts first is unfair, and I'm still around :-)

"The opposition has argued that the Thai word for "income" now being used by the government may imply that the daily Bt300 includes benefits as well as cash, which is different from the implication during the campaign of a "wage" of Bt300 plus benefits.

Yingluck said the government was sincere and determined to press ahead with its policies. The Bt15,000 minimum salary for university graduates, which the Pheu Thai Party said would be made available immediately, will start with state officials as soon as the 2012 budget is in effect, she said."

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2011/08/26/national/Yingluck-calls-for-govt-to-be-given-a-chance-30163694.html

So know you know, the PM has spoken!

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Kittirat tried to salvage the government's position by arguing that what the government really meant wasn't "minimum wage" but rather "minimal income" of Bt300 "in accordance with their experience and productivity" or something along that line. He used the same explanation for the Bt15,000 salary pledge.

So can someone fill me in on the true meaning of the above statement,

What does this mean?

"Minimal Income! as opposed to "minimum wage"

1. 300 Bahts per hour?

2. 300 Bahts per day?

3. 300 Bahts per month?

And who will be the judge as to: "in accordance with their experience and productivity"

Redshirts first,and do take your time!

Red-shirts first is unfair, and I'm still around :-)

"The opposition has argued that the Thai word for "income" now being used by the government may imply that the daily Bt300 includes benefits as well as cash, which is different from the implication during the campaign of a "wage" of Bt300 plus benefits.

Yingluck said the government was sincere and determined to press ahead with its policies. The Bt15,000 minimum salary for university graduates, which the Pheu Thai Party said would be made available immediately, will start with state officials as soon as the 2012 budget is in effect, she said."

http://www.nationmul...e-30163694.html

So know you know, the PM has spoken!

Well thanks for your explanation Rubi,that has made it a trifle clearer,but still seems to be some room there for more reductions and backpeddling.which was to be expected.

And the Goalposts for Thai University Graduates promised 15,000 baht a month,now starting in 2012 has shifted dramatically to starting with "State Officials"

It will be interesting to see how much further this Vote winner will descend?

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A very good post rametindallas; sadly, one of the very few sensible ones I've seen on this subject in the last few years on TV, and I agree entirely with your conclusions.

It looks as though the whitewashing of the Thaksin clan has begun, with Potjaman's tax evasion conviction now quashed. Though I only read the English translation, the court's reasoning looks farcical and sycophantic, and in itself will do nothing but raise further calls from some parties for the military to once again get involved.

Just follow the Thai example of Buddhist acceptance and events won't stress your mind, body, spirit too much.

I agree with the sentiment, but I just don't think my acceptance is going to do anything to stop the bullets which are going to be the final resolution to this struggle for control of the country. I suppose one could learn accept the results no matter how distasteful, but I am in no mood to accept a piece of lead in my daughter's head because she got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And this is leading to civil war. Everyone is just holding back right now out of respect for a revered individual.

But I do thank you for capturing the essence of what this conflict is about in your earlier statement.

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