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Governments fall for want of public trust


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EDITORIAL

Governments fall for want of public trust
By The Nation

 

Lessons of the past are unheeded as the killing in Chiang Mai further undermines faith in the military regime

 

BANGKOK: -- The post-coup government has now been in power for more than two and a half years, a period comparable to those of many elected administrations in the past, including its two immediate predecessors led by Abhisit Vejjajiva and Yingluck Shinawatra, both of which lasted less than three years. And, like other regimes that have survived this long, the current government is facing seemingly inevitable complaints about the abuse of power. 

 

For the most part, citizens still have faith in Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s intentions for bettering of the country, as set out after he led the military coup of May 2014. But the longer this government remains in power, the more doubt has arisen about the intentions of people close to him. Do they share General Prayut’s vision for national development? Are they sincere about initiating much-needed reform?

 

Such individuals must never forget that they seized power rather than earning the right to rule through an election. They have faced little serious opposition only because so many citizens, relieved that the violent street conflicts were over, have willingly given them time to implement their promised reforms.

 

To demonstrate its sincerity in this direction, the government must devote the balance of its tenure to expediting work that remains uncompleted, including a broad range of reforms. And it has to make absolutely sure that any changes introduced benefit the public rather than certain influential groups.

 

It is unwise for any government to allow the temptations of power to derail its good intentions. Being military and autocratic, the current government has run the risk of being “spoiled” by a lack of parliamentary and media scrutiny and the sheer muscle that Article 44 of the interim constitution grants the prime minister. He and other leaders should know the lessons of the past. Previous governments both elected and military became prisoners to their own power-lust and fomented public discontent that led to mass street protests. There is no reason for the current regime to repeat the same mistake.

 

Its “honeymoon period” has of course long since expired. Flaws in its actions – and its inaction on some important matters – are becoming increasingly evident. More citizens are speaking out. Prayut is now regularly criticised for invoking Article 44 too readily and unnecessarily, given that civilian laws might often be just as effective if enforced. 

 

Although this administration has so far remained free from serious allegations of corruption, we are hearing more and more criticism over perceived abuses of power. And even if much of that criticism comes from the military junta’s political rivals and members of the former power clique, the complaints are heard frequently enough to gain traction among the general public. And the government lends them credence every time it fails to mount an adequate defence.

 

One of this government’s worst weaknesses is its default readiness to defend military figures accused of irregularities. In the latest incident, rank-and-file soldiers stand accused of summarily killing a hilltribe activist at a Chiang Mai roadblock. The Army insists the slain man had a grenade and the troops were acting in self-defence. 

 

The fact that most key government leaders from the prime minister on down are military men might make it seem natural for them to feel obliged to protect subordinates and the Army’s reputation. That the matter is in dispute and under investigation might have tempered their case-closed defensiveness, but it did not. The furore has only made the government and military seem less trustworthy, resulting in simmering public discontent.

 

This government cannot afford to encourage the perception that its own interests outweigh those of the people. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/today_editorial/30310725

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-03-30
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2 hours ago, webfact said:

Do they share General Prayut’s vision for national development? Are they sincere about initiating much-needed reform?

No, they are interested in maintaining a system which further entitles the elites, something closer to before Thaksin was elected.  The only positive legacy this government may be remembered for is the rail link with China.  That is if it does not bankrupt the country, or if the junta has not already bankrupted the country.  So far they have created bike lanes and solved the beach chair crisis, nothing more.    

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Quoting OP "They have faced little serious opposition only because so many citizens, relieved that the violent street conflicts were over, have willingly given them time to implement their promised reforms."

 

It could be that the citizens are giving them time or it could be that any group of 5 or more people, meeting for political purposes, is illegal and those that have ignored the rule have been stamped on, hard.

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1 hour ago, yellowboat said:

No, they are interested in maintaining a system which further entitles the elites, something closer to before Thaksin was elected.  The only positive legacy this government may be remembered for is the rail link with China.  That is if it does not bankrupt the country, or if the junta has not already bankrupted the country.  So far they have created bike lanes and solved the beach chair crisis, nothing more.    

Is there any difference in countries with "democratically" elected officials that lie, hunt jobs, "share" wealth and in general are not interested at all in the people.

 

I do think a lot more has been done and is being done by this government.

 

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4 hours ago, PREM-R said:

of 5 or more people, meeting for political purposes, is illegal and those that have ignored the rule have been stamped on, hard.

Thus the country is a loooong way from democracy. The playbook they are using seems to becoming gospel in may parts of Asia. 

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4 hours ago, hansnl said:

Is there any difference in countries with "democratically" elected officials that lie, hunt jobs, "share" wealth and in general are not interested at all in the people.

 

Yes, there is. And the answer you have given already; they are democratically elected and can be removed by the same people who elected them, the people the unelected dinos currently in power fear the most:

The voters.

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6 hours ago, hansnl said:

Is there any difference in countries with "democratically" elected officials that lie, hunt jobs, "share" wealth and in general are not interested at all in the people.

 

I do think a lot more has been done and is being done by this government.

 

 

Yes there is.

 

Your assertion bears no scrutiny whatsoever.

 

Your usual deflective comment is evidence, once again, of your attitude towards the ideal of Western Liberal Democracy.

 

The fact that you repeatedly show such enthusiasm for a thuggish, backward looking totalitarian (and his methods) is evidence enough of your own political tendencies.

 

 

Edited by Enoon
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10 hours ago, webfact said:

EDITORIAL

Governments fall for want of public trust
 

 

10 hours ago, webfact said:

...or losing out on realpolitik via power seizure? This sentiment smacks of "just-world" fallacy.

 

 

10 hours ago, webfact said:

 

BANGKOK: -- The post-coup government has now been in power for more than two and a half years,

 

Almost three years, going on 20?

 

For the most part, citizens still have faith in Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s intentions for bettering of the country,

 

*citation needed

 

Quote

as set out after he led the military coup of May 2014.

 

LOL

 

But the longer this government remains in power, the more doubt has arisen about the intentions of people close to him.

 

Still taboo to question the motives of Dear Leader directly, I see...

 

Do they share General Prayut’s vision for national development? Are they sincere about initiating much-needed reform?

 

Vision for national development? Like censorship, memorization of the 12 core values, personal appointment of the entire military-dominated senate, and arrest, imprisonment, or murder of those who would dare speak the truth to power? I'm certain that they do...

 

Quote

 

Such individuals must never forget that they seized power rather than earning the right to rule through an election. They have faced little serious opposition only because so many citizens, relieved that the violent street conflicts were over, have willingly given them time to implement their promised reforms.

 

Or is it because they abuse the law as a plaything and have the entire state security apparatus at their beck and call to smash dissent? More false, disingenuous weasely claims here...

 

Quote

To demonstrate its sincerity in this direction, the government must devote the balance of its tenure to expediting work that remains uncompleted, including a broad range of reforms. And it has to make absolutely sure that any changes introduced benefit the public rather than certain influential groups.

 

There have been no reforms, just vice cranking against their popular, successful opponents. All of their changes benefit the elite rather than the public.

 

Quote

It is unwise for any government to allow the temptations of power to derail its good intentions.

 

Still wondering where this "good intentions" fallacy originated from...

 

Being military and autocratic, the current government has run the risk of being “spoiled” by a lack of parliamentary and media scrutiny and the sheer muscle that Article 44 of the interim constitution grants the prime minister.

 

The first bit of truth in the whole piece.

 

He and other leaders should know the lessons of the past. Previous governments both elected and military became prisoners to their own power-lust and fomented public discontent that led to mass street protests. There is no reason for the current regime to repeat the same mistake.

 

We can only hope...

 

Quote

 

Its “honeymoon period” has of course long since expired. Flaws in its actions – and its inaction on some important matters – are becoming increasingly evident. More citizens are speaking out. Prayut is now regularly criticised for invoking Article 44 too readily and unnecessarily, given that civilian laws might often be just as effective if enforced. 

 

Although this administration has so far remained free from serious allegations of corruption,

 

Clocks? Corruption park? Hawaii? Nepotism? Land sale? Submarines? Casino? Absenteeism from parliament? Chinese double track rail? Coal plant? National oil monopoly? Nothing ringing a bell yet?

 

we are hearing more and more criticism over perceived abuses of power. And even if much of that criticism comes from the military junta’s political rivals and members of the former power clique, the complaints are heard frequently enough to gain traction among the general public.

 

The junta's political rivals are the general public.

 

And the government lends them credence every time it fails to mount an adequate defence.

 

Guns are their defence. They have been since day 1.

 

Quote

 

One of this government’s worst weaknesses is its default readiness to defend military figures accused of irregularities. In the latest incident, rank-and-file soldiers stand accused of summarily killing a hilltribe activist at a Chiang Mai roadblock. The Army insists the slain man had a grenade and the troops were acting in self-defence. 

 

The fact that most key government leaders from the prime minister on down are military men might make it seem natural for them to feel obliged to protect subordinates and the Army’s reputation.

 

Ah, yes. That sterling reputation. 18 coups, hundreds of pro-democracy protestors killed, thousands of generals who engage in illegitimate business activities in their spare time, recruits tortured to death, extra-judicial summary killings, involvement in international drug trade and slave labor, and on and on.

 

That the matter is in dispute and under investigation might have tempered their case-closed defensiveness, but it did not. The furore has only made the government and military seem less trustworthy, resulting in simmering public discontent.

 

When were they trustworthy? I feel like they have been lying to the public about elections, their reasons for taking power, poll results, foreign criticism, and the economy daily for three years. Is my memory that faulty?

 

Quote

This government cannot afford to encourage the perception that its own interests outweigh those of the people. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/today_editorial/30310725

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-03-30

 

Thanks, The Nation, for a very honest and insightful article!

 

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Is there any difference in countries with "democratically" elected officials that lie, hunt jobs, "share" wealth and in general are not interested at all in the people.
 
I do think a lot more has been done and is being done by this government.
 

Yes. The people can get rid of them.
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