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Mixed feelings over Thai govt's start


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6 MONTHS AFTER THE COUP
Mixed feelings over junta's start

PRAVIT ROJANAPHRUK,
NITIPOL KIRAVANICH,
ERICH PARPART
THE NATION

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BUSINESS HAPPY BUT FEARS VOICED THAT REFORM PROCESS IS BEING STIFLED BY MARTIAL LAW AND RIGHTS BEING TRAMPLED ON

BANGKOK: -- SIX MONTHS after the coup on May 22 some positive changes have been noticed, although critics and observers say the military leaders have not done enough to promote an atmosphere suitable for national reform.


Those interviewed by The Nation gave mixed reactions when asked how satisfied they were with Thailand in the past six months under a military junta. Responses ranged from "not very satisfied at all" to "satisfied with the evident peace and certain government policies".

Scores for performance of the junta and the Prayut Chan-o-cha government ranged widely, from minus 10 to 9 out of 10.

Niran Pitakwatchara, a member of the National Human Rights Commission in charge of political and civil rights, said the most-liked policy for him was that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had managed to use military power to end the killing of civilians at demonstrations. However, he said there had been an increase in human rights violations.

"The remaining hope is that Thai political development in the civil sector is still strong and spread throughout the country," he said.

As for a score for the junta, Niran said: "Human rights and democracy are on the retreat. It's not down to zero out of 10 yet - but it's definitely less than five."

His life had not changed much since the coup. "My personal life is the same but some people have been alienated," he said.

Thailand Reform Institute (TRI) director Suriyasai Katasila said this government still had not produced any tangible policies, especially in the area of governing the country.

"I am still not impressed - especially in the business area - that we still are not developing as much [as expected]... "Rubber and rice, including their price issues, are still not managed properly, which could be seen as poor people still struggling and ... neglected by the government," he said.

However, he praised the junta for maintaining peace between the conflicting sides. "Earlier Thailand faced a violence problem. The NCPO helped this country on eradicating dangerous situations towards the people," he said.

Asked to evaluate a score of the junta's government, Suriyasai said "overall this government still doesn't pass, moreover they failed on the economy and people's living standards problems. I would like to urge them to prove themselves as soon as possible for the time they have left."

'Cabinet needs time to prove itself'

He said perhaps it was still too early to evaluate the Cabinet's working and it should be given more time to prove itself after only several months.

"In addition, the NCPO performs very well on national security, which might be the only thing this government was doing [well]," Suriyasai said.

Asked for his favourite policies or least favourite, he replied the best policy was when the junta came up with a deal with armed groups. However, they had to proceed continuously to prevent further movements that might involve the military.

"The least favourite is surely how the junta government sealed people's mouths without identifying who had good intentions and those who didn't. The public wanted to propose their ideas on national reform and the NCPO shut them down, which could be considered as suffocating our own people," he said.

Suriyasai said he understood the junta was focusing on national stability and reconciliation, preventing any conflict from emerging. But for political observers who wanted to propose their plans on reformation, the junta in return shut them down by claiming the need for martial law, which was inappropriate.

Signs of dissatisfaction and opposition against the coup were still evident. Five students protested against the coup when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Khon Kaen last week. And a few students flashed a three-finger salute at some Bangkok cinemas where the new Hunger Games movie sequel was being screened.

David Streckfuss, an independent scholar residing in Thailand, said he was "not very satisfied at all" with life under the junta.

"The NCPO has managed to create something of a common cause between red-leaning activists and yellow-leaning community rights advocates over the issue of martial law and human rights," he said.

When asked to score the junta and the government, Streckfuss replied: "1 out of 10, but negative scores also possible."

He added it was difficult to give the administration any score at all "because for the vast majority of its time the NCPO has concerned itself with securing its own power, creating a framework for eternal control, and clamping down on those who think differently".

He also complained about the human rights situation. "It is rather dire. The number of new cases of lese majeste and those criticising the regime is rising."

'No chance of lasting reforms'

When asked about his favourite policy and least favourite under the junta, Streckfuss said: "My favourite policy to lampoon is the regime’s desperate attempts to market martial-law tourism."

He said that his "least favourite policy" has to do with the junta's reform efforts. "The structure it has laid out for 'reform' and a new constitution appears to be perfectly designed for disaster. There's simply no chance of lasting reforms or a new charter conceived under martial law," he said.

Gothom Arya, director of Mahidol University's Peace Studies and Development Centre, said he only had a subjective evaluation of this junta government, because he insisted from the start that he personally had a negative opinion towards the government.

"I insisted from the beginning I had my prejudices towards the government; moreover I do not like to be limited on the freedom aspect and see others suppressed as well," he said.

Gothom said he was not pleased with the way the government solved problems with a top-down approach. This meant heads of agencies always dictated to lower agencies, and thus limited their rights and freedom, and give orders to related agencies.

"I believe that many policies the junta government proceeded with, such as national security and reconciliation, are not performing as well as they should," he said.

As for martial law, Gothom said that the world now views Thailand as being not in a normal situation. And this was leading to uncertainty among people in charge of a law that affects everyone in the country.

'Like ghost of Sarit is haunting me'

Moreover, he rejected giving a score to this military government, saying he insisted he never made such an evaluation with a score, but had a clear standing on subjective evaluation.

He said although his personal life was not impacted on so much by this government, the problem of government intervening in his works was always there, which is usual for his area of work.

Weng Tojirakarn, a Pheu Thai Party politician and leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said he "can't be satisfied living under martial law and under the current provisional charter".

He added that he was particularly dissatisfied with Article 44 in the post-coup charter, which granted the junta absolute power to override all three branches of the state.

"It's hard for me to meet with others and exchange views for fear of affecting the government and the military," he said.

To give a score on the junta, he said, "I have to give it a score of minus 10 because I feel like the ghost of Sarit is haunting me." He was referring to Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, the late dictatorial leader of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

"No democracy can be created out of dictatorship and I fear that what we're seeing is a new elite-run system where freedom is limited," he said.

For him, the most-liked policy was when the military regime managed to pay money to farmers who'd joined the Yingluck Shinawatra administration's rice pledging scheme. The most disliked policy was martial law and Article 44.

Akanat Promphan, spokesman for the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), thought the junta was sincere about maintaining stability and promoting reform. He said the PDRC was satisfied with the junta helping to push for reform.

"We can see that the NCPO is sincere in its determination to make the country more stable, but still we cannot expect anything much at this point," he said.

When asked if his life had changed, the young politician said: "It sure changes. Before, we used to rally or gather, marching on foot and calling for national reform. But now we've changed these movements to create a foundation which also helps propose reformation to the government."

Business sector happy

To score the junta and the Prayut administration, Akanat said, "If five is a pass, I give this government a bit higher than half, which is seven."

Prapas Tonpibulsak, chief investment officer of Krungsri Asset Management, said he gave a 9 out of 10 score to the Prayut government's six-month administrative performance on economic affairs as it had focused more on economic structural change in medium to long term than short term.

Vallop Vitanakorn, vice chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, gave 8 out of 10 for the government's economic performance. It had tried to introduce stimulus measures to spur the economy. The federation and private sector knew this was difficult amid a sluggish world economy.

"I am satisfied with their economic performance despite the delay in the stimulus package. The private sector understands that the delay in its tangibility was caused by the buying and hiring process, since such a process required transparency and this government was trying to make it as transparent as it possibly could.

"The economy would have been worse if the government had not come up with stimulus measures," he said.

He expected government buying - and the hiring process of its stimulus package - to be complete by next month and capital should enter the economy by the first quarter next year.

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Mixed-feelings-over-juntas-start-30248407.html

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-- The Nation 2014-11-24

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

And the deck chair move was only temporary as earlier news reports that they are back.

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I'm sure they probably couldn't care less about what farangs think of them, however, after after initial positivity, I'm not sure this mob is any better than the crooks they replaced.

Initially the clean up of the beaches was a step in the right direction, but much of that seems to have returned to the way it was, with the exception of Phuket.

The beach nearest to me in Hua Hin is a mess, filthy in parts and in the worst state I've seen it for four years. In Khao Takiab, south of Hua Hin, the beach vendors there are even more fierce. Less tourists mean their income has been squeezed which results in you getting hassled twice as much.

Of course, the above is just on a local level but when I read the stories from Koh Tao murder cover up and the seeming lack of intervention, about them pulling a Hunger Games movie (I mean, really) and arresting students peacefully protesting in Khon Kaen, I worry what is happening.

Add to that stories of Prayuth's wealth, 600m Baht land deals, his collection of Patek Phillipe watches (at least he has taste) and luxury sports cars, I wonder if Thailand is really any better know than it was 1 year ago?

Edited by pinkpanther99
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And don't forget that they saved Thailand spiraling out of control, that surely in the end would have led to a civil war.

fair comment. I remember seeing the pics of militia freely go around Bangkok heavily armed with assault rifles and grenades etc.

I have no doubt that military intervention was needed for the reason you mention.

However, since then....

All I'm saying is, for the sake of Thailand and its people, I hope there is no kind of hidden agenda from the people who are running the country currently.

Edited by pinkpanther99
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<script type='text/javascript'>window.mod_pagespeed_start = Number(new Date());</script>

I'm sure they probably couldn't care less about what farangs think of them, however, after after initial positivity, I'm not sure this mob is any better than the crooks they replaced.

Initially the clean up of the beaches was a step in the right direction, but much of that seems to have returned to the way it was, with the exception of Phuket.

The beach nearest to me in Hua Hin is a mess, filthy in parts and in the worst state I've seen it for four years. In Khao Takiab, south of Hua Hin, the beach vendors there are even more fierce. Less tourists mean their income has been squeezed which results in you getting hassled twice as much.

Of course, the above is just on a local level but when I read the stories from Koh Tao murder cover up and the seeming lack of intervention, about them pulling a Hunger Games movie (I mean, really) and arresting students peacefully protesting in Khon Kaen, I worry what is happening.

Add to that stories of Prayuth's wealth, 600m Baht land deals, his collection of Patek Phillipe watches (at least he has taste) and luxury sports cars, I wonder if Thailand is really any better know than it was 1 year ago?

Not only farang's anybody else and that's their problem , if they took more notice from outside of Thailand they might wake up they are full of B/S

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

And the deck chair move was only temporary as earlier news reports that they are back.

An official in Phuket is quoted as saying she will check if they are back and if so ask them to co-operate !

Ask, Urge etc., so what's wrong with enforcement ? This makes a fool of both the junta and local officialdom.

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Everything is going along fine, just how the NWO set it up to be. How can you bring about change for the betterment of the people and the country if the people themselves stay in denial. The Illuminati are real and will continue to achieve the ultimate goal of a one world government.

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And don't forget that they saved Thailand spiraling out of control, that surely in the end would have led to a civil war.

Maybe that is what Thailand actually needs. A civil war.

It will be business as usual and an endless cycle of corruption ans demonstrating followed by coup, tearing up the constitution, trampling on the rights of people and on it goes. The rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

One preferred eventuality rather than civil war would be a full on people's revolt. To show these political puppet master that the people are the ones with the real power.

But this is Thailand.... We will get much of the same once people get into power it goes straight to their head and doors open to massive wealth.

The trough will always have snouts in it, at the moment it is green dressed snouts.

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

don't be so negative, they banned the Hunger Games premier as well ;)

They are still trying to put together that supposedly slam dunk case against Yingluck.

All togerthe now

Because we all know.......that she is corrupt.

They just can't prove it.

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

Stopped decent people getting slaughtered by red-shirts with grenade launchers.

Obviously this - the key reason for the coup - is not important to you.

What provoked the red shirts ? If a democratically elected government is deposed, are there not repercussions ?

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

And the deck chair move was only temporary as earlier news reports that they are back.
An official in Phuket is quoted as saying she will check if they are back and if so ask them to co-operate !

Ask, Urge etc., so what's wrong with enforcement ? This makes a fool of both the junta and local officialdom.

Hey it's hot outside. She needs a budget for sunscreen

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

I agree with this.

We hear a lot of talk yet see so little action.

WHERE are all these reforms? Where is the anti-corruption..... and on and on.....

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To give a score on the junta, he said, "I have to give it a score of minus 10 because I feel like the ghost of Sarit is haunting me." He was referring to Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, the late dictatorial leader of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

When asked what score he would give PTP and Yingluck, Weng said 10 out of 10, everything was fantastic, all the people were happy, rice was selling like hotcakes and peace and harmony filled the land.

........................"10 out of 10"............................

cheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gifcheesy.gif

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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

don't be so negative, they banned the Hunger Games premier as well wink.png

They are still trying to put together that supposedly slam dunk case against Yingluck.

All togerthe now

Because we all know.......that she is corrupt.

They just can't prove it.

I noticed that you mention that it can't be proved that she is corrupt, I don't call her corrupt because I don't know. What I do know, and you very carefully failed to mention, is that she was charged with dereliction of duty, and she is guilty of that without question. Even the most red leaning zealot can see that.

Edited by ramrod711
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Apart from setting up attitude adjustment factories and moving a couple of deck chairs what have they done?

Made it possible for your Mrs to stay home on the pig farm, without the need to sit on main roads in bangkok. Cool huh?

You are the most offensive person on here. You do not know my missus and she certainly is not a pig. She has never sat on the roads of Bangkok either. She is not hi so but has a university qualification from Thailand and earned her masters in accounting in Melbourne Aust. She also holds Australian citizenship and passport.

She is far from a pig farmer which your wife who is pig excrement expires to be.

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