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Two big parties welcome Prayuth’s comments

Posted by arnon_k On June - 15 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Major political parties have agreed that the comments by army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on two army television stations yesterday, urging voters to elect only “good people”, were acceptable and would not affect voters’ decisions.

Chartthaipattana leader Chumpol Silpa-archa said on Wednesday that the army chief is a very open person who had clearly expressed his view that soldiers should not take sides in the election.

Mr Chumpol was responding to the comments on Channel 7 and Channel 5 by Gen Prayuth on Tuesday evening.

“His statement means all parties know that the army is impartial and that political parties can campaign in any military camp. Gen Prayuth clearly stated that the army will not get involved in politics and thus politics should not bother him,” he said.

Mr Chumpol added that the army chief had spoken openly, like a soldier, and people should not put too much into his comments.

Asked whether Gen Prayuth’s comments could guide people politically in the July 3 general election, the CTP leader said that was not so. People were capable of making their own judgments and whatever anyone else said should not affect their decision making.

Pheu Thai’s leading party-list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra said there was nothing wrong with Gen Praytuh’s speech, as he had just explained the army’s standpoint on the July 3 general election.

“It is good that the army will not get involved in politics and will be impartial on the election,” Ms Yingluck said.

The youngest sister of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin said she and Pheu Thai also agreed with Gen Prayuth that the highly respected high institution must not be dragged down into politics.

She did not think the army chief‘s comments were intended to prevent Pheu Thai from winning at the polls.

Asked about the media report that Democrat Party secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban may have met Gen Prayuth yesterday, while her request to meet him was rejected, Ms Yingluck said that decision rests with the army chief.

She wanted to meet Gen Prayuth for a discussion on ways to bring about national reconciliation. She hoped they could meet after the election.

Army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd this morning denied as baseless the media report of a meeting between Mr Suthep and Gen Prayuth yesterday.

Col Sansern said there was no such meeting because the army chief was concerned such a meeting would be seen as political.

Mr Suthep later today took the same tone. He strongly denied as untrue the report that he met the army chief, who yesterday appeared on television calling on voters to turnout in force to elect “good people” in the July 3 election.

He said the report was fabricated by deceitful people who wanted to discredit the army chief.

The deputy premier overseeing security said Gen Prayuth’s explanation of his standpoint, that the military must remain neutral in the election, was useful. It could be taken as a message to those who had a bad attitude toward the army.

Red-shirt government ‘worries’ investors

Posted by arnon_k On June - 13 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Investors continue selling off their shares in the stock market because they are concerned about having red-shirt core members in the next government, Finance Minister and Democrat key member Korn Chatikavanij said on Monday.

“Investors do not know what the new government will look like and many investors’ analyses question how the economy will be managed if the new government has red-shirt leaders as MPs,” Mr Korn said.

Foreign investors brought in US$3 billion to invest in the Stock Exchange of Thailand last year but they had been selling off to gain profit at this time.

There might be more sell-off if investors see that the next government is not from the current administration, the former investment banker said.

“The Pheu Thai Party’s campaign will damage the country’s economy.

“For instance, changing the rice price guarantee scheme to the old mortgage programme would cost 500 billion baht and the country would immediately have 200 billion baht in debt.

“This is one of the factors causing investors to be less confident in the future of the Thai economy,” Mr Korn added.

Abhisit opposes referendum plan

Posted by arnon_k On June - 10 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has rejected a Pheu Thai Party plan to hold a national referendum on amnesty for offences committed after the 2006 coup.

“I am not sure whether the referendum holding is constitutional. It could once again create a problem of social division in the country.

“The best thing to do at this time is to move the country forward without any impact on the effort to resolve problems faced by people. The best way is not to do this kind of thing,” the Democrat leader said.

The claim that granting amnesty will be equally beneficial for all sides is unlikely, Mr Abhisit added, giving an example that if the government had to return confiscated assets to former prime minister Thaksin, the country would be damaged.

Asked about a report on the establishment of pro red-shirt villages, Mr Abhisit said he had no idea about the objective of such action but was told that it might be for building up a network of red-shirt followers.

Questioned about Chartthaipattana leader Chumpol Silpa-archa’s discontent over a Facebook message that said he had no choice but to include Chartthaipattana and other parties in a Democrat-led coalition government, Mr Abhisit said Mr Chumpol might have misunderstood his point of view, as he had not fully explained it.

Mr Abhisit said it is not necessary for him to clear up the misunderstanding as he believes Mr Chumpol would finally understand.

Mr Chumpol yesterday criticised Mr Abhisit for not giving other parties in the coalition due respect.

Army chief vents fury at ex-MP

Posted by arnon_k On June - 10 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Pheu Thai candidate accused of foul play
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has vented his ire over an alleged attempt by a Pheu Thai election candidate to obstruct a drug raid in Bangkok, saying he will flood the area with troops to assist the government in its drive.

An army spokesman accused Pheu Thai candidate and former MP Pairoj Isarasereepong and his aides of intimidating three military members of the government’s Task Force 315 anti-drug unit in a search at Sap Charoen estate in Nong Chok district on May 23.

“Who are you? How dare you intimidate our officers? I won’t allow them to do so. If three soldiers encountered such a problem in their community, I will send 50 soldiers,” said Gen Prayuth.

“Let’s see if they dare to surround our soldiers again. If 50 soldiers can’t stop them, then I will send 100 soldiers there. We’ll use this approach.”

Gen Prayuth expressed his anger after learning about the incident and that Mr Pairoj had filed defamation complaints against army spokesman Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd for discussing his role with the media.

The 315 task force, consisting of police, military and civilian members, has been set up recently under the Democrat-led government’s campaign against drugs in Bangkok and a further five adjoining provinces.

A unit was sent to Sap Charoen to conduct a drug search but met Mr Pairoj, a candidate for Bangkok’s constituency 9, and his aides on arrival.

According to Col Sansern, the two men accompanying Mr Pairoj allegedly opened their shirts to show they had guns before the three task force members left the area.

“I’ve questioned officers involved about the incident. You [Mr Pairoj] have pressured our soldiers to leave the area and barred them from carrying out their operation. It’s a lack of respect between us. I’ve always respected you,” Gen Prayuth fumed

“Lately, I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut and tried to build a good atmosphere for the election, so everybody would be happy with the election. People can advertise whatever they want. But you have made allegations against soldiers, you have bullied soldiers. I can’t allow it.”

Gen Prayuth said the army would continue its operations under the 315 task force plan. Those people who wanted the army to end its anti-drugs operations might have been involved in drug trafficking rings, he said. Gen Prayuth downplayed a suggestion that the confrontation would trigger another conflict between the army and Pheu Thai.

“I don’t have any problem with any party, but with lawbreakers. So don’t violate the law, no matter which party you are with,” he said.

Mr Pairoj denied yesterday that he had tried to obstruct the drug raid.

He said he and his aides had travelled to the housing estate after complaints by residents who were frightened by the arrival of soldiers in army vehicles.

Mr Pairoj claimed he left the area after asking the unit about the purpose of its visit. The Nong Chok police chief was there when he talked to the three members of the 315 task force and could be his witness that he did not carry any gun, said Mr Pairoj.

He has lodged civil and criminal complaints against Col Sansern for defaming him and undermining his support.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva insisted the 315 task force has nothing to do with politics and urged the public to cooperate with its personnel.

Yesterday, about 100 officers of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), the 191 police, and the Khlong Tan police station, also searched 10 spots in Nualchit community in Ekkamai Soi 30 in Bangkok’s Wattana district.

The search was an operation under the 315 anti-drugs plan, said Pol Col Prasopchok Phrommoon, a deputy CSD chief. One suspect was arrested.