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PM vows support for terror fight

Posted by pakin On November - 19 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

MANILA – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is to pledge in a speech Thursday to join international efforts to fight cross-border terrorism and also vow to carry out domestic structural reform to support regional economic growth.

In a speech the prime minister is due to deliver at the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ summit, Gen Prayut will say he is saddened about the recent attacks in Paris and pledges to cooperate with the international community to counter terrorists.

“The Royal Thai Government and the Thai people strongly condemn this heinous act and stand with the international community to fight against terrorism,” he will say.

According to an Apec source, the leaders are planning to jointly condemn the deadly Paris and Beirut attacks and the recent bomb attack on a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai, in Egypt, which killed all 224 people on board.

In the initial draft declaration, the leaders were set to denounce the Paris attacks as a threat to their economies and call for united action to fight threat.

“Terrorism threatens our vision of free, open and prosperous economies and fundamental values that we hold. We stand in solidarity with the people of France [the Beirut bombing and Russian plane blast were added later] and all victims of terrorism elsewhere.

“These atrocities demand a united voice from the global community. We reaffirm our strong collective resolve to counter terrorism,” according to the draft which will be concluded Thursday before the summit ends.

On economic issues, Gen Prayut plans to say Thailand supports economic integration and building inclusive growth in the bloc, while also welcoming the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

However, the premier urged Apec members to speed up a free-trade agreement for the Asia-Pacific, saying all economies can achieve free trade with strong political will, in spite of being at different stages of development.

Domestically, Gen Prayut says Thailand needs to reform its economy, aiming to better support Apec economic cooperation.

“My government is committed to structural reform in all areas, with priority given to three main areas, namely anti-corruption, SMEs and social protection,” he will tell his counterparts.

To support regional economic growth, Thailand has launched several projects, including the “Thailand Plus One” economic model, special economic zones and super cluster economic zones, a new project involving high technology and modern manufacturing sectors.

The premier will also extend support for human resources development, increasing the abilities of workers, and ensuring gender equality and equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

Gen Prayut on Wednesday held talks with his Papua New Guinea counterpart Peter O’Neill on the sidelines of the leaders’ meeting.

He thanked Mr O’Neill for his country’s support as an importer of Thai rice and agreed the two countries should expand  cooperation, said Thai government deputy spokesman Maj Gen Werachon Sukondhapatipak.

Gen Prayut assured Mr O’Neill of the quality of Thai rice while the Papua New Guinea premier asked Thailand to provide experts to help his country develop rice farming. The leaders looked forward to closer cooperation on rice and fishing.

Papua New Guinea has abundant marine resources while Thailand has expertise in fishing, so cooperation in this field will benefit both countries, Maj Gen Werachon said.

The Thai premier also met Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. Gen Prayut said Bangkok sees Bogota as a key economic partner which can be a “bridge linking Thailand with other Latin American countries”, Maj Gen Werachon said.

PM returns to spotlight in fine voice

Posted by pakin On October - 21 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

AFTER staying out of the spotlight for a week, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha returned yesterday looking somewhat calmer.

Before presiding over the Cabinet meeting, he began the day by jokingly kicking a boxer who was visiting Government House to promote cultural campaigns.

Prayut then told reporters that he had been busy preparing for the “five rivers” meeting next Wednesday, as well as other events. The prime minister managed to retain his style of “elaborating”, but his voice seemed softer than usual.

That was until he was asked about the legitimacy of the charter-drafting process, especially the public acceptability of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) members.

“If you don’t like how the country is now, then go back before May 22 [last year],” Prayut replied, referring to political clashes before the coup. “Could those conflicts solve political issues?” Prayut seemed to relax before raising his voice again. “It’s been long that I haven’t been this loud.”

In the course of the 40-minute press briefing, the PM managed to convey his disapproval of “limitless democracy and freedom”, referring to how Thailand suffered from a series of political conflicts. The government will also strive hard to solve previous problems and put everything in place, he insisted.

Prayut also announced his intention to make rarer public appearances, but stressed that he would still provide interviews on important issues.

“The PM has been fine with us,” said Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kawekamnerd, who has been appointed to fill in when the PM is less inclined to assume his public role. “We haven’t had any problem speaking for him so far.”

The less frequent nature of Prayut‘s public appearances will not necessarily keep the government from getting its message across, however. The prime minister’s updates can still be tracked through his “Returning Happiness to the People” TV programme every Friday.

Observers believe his rare appearances are unlikely to obstruct news reports, as major procedures relating to the government, such as the charter drafting, are still only at the beginning.

PM insulated from order on Yingluck damages

Posted by pakin On October - 15 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Wissanu say only endorsement from Finance minister needed to seek compensation over rice scheme

PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha did not need to ink an administrative order to have ex-PM YingluckShinawatra pay compensation for losses over the rice pledging scheme as only an endorsement of the Finance Minister was needed, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday.

Wissanu was speaking after Yingluck’s lawyer argued that the PM’s move to issue an administrative order to make Yingluck pay compensation might be deemed abuse of authority and motivated by politics.

Wissanu said legal specialists met half a month ago and resolved that the PM did not need to endorse the administrative order in the latter half of the legal procedures to make Yingluck pay compensation for damages incurred in the rice subsidy scheme.

“Article 5 of the Liability of Wrongful Act of State Official 1996 stipulates that when state officials who committed a wrongful act are not under the jurisdiction of any agency, the Finance Ministry will be in charge of the case. Yingluck is not under the jurisdiction of any ministry, so her case will be under the responsibility of the Finance Ministry, Wissanu said.

Wissanu defended against criticism that legal specialists were resorting to a legal tactic to prevent Prayutfrom being sued for abuse of power.

“We are not trying to protect the PM. Look into the law. The PM co-signs with the ministers in charge of the case only in the first half of the procedure and not the latter half. If General Prayut must sign but he fails to do so, then the order will be invalid. The PM has announced that if there is anything wrong, he will take responsibility,” Wissanu said.

Wissanu said the PM himself was taken by surprise when he learned he needed not to sign any more documentation.

He added that the government would continue with its decision to issue the administrative order in Yingluck’s case because if the government does not take action before the two-year statute of limitations expires, the National Anti-Corruption Commission would sue the government and make it pay the compensation for the losses over the rice subsidy.

Norawit Lalaeng dismissed a statement made by Wissanu that the government had no alternative but to take recourse under the Liability of Wrongful Act of State Official 1996 because Yingluck committed gross negligence over her handling of the rice pledging scheme.

He cited that the Charter Organic Law on Anti-Corruption Act 1999 did not specify which law must be applied to seek compensation.

Boy, 16, handed to police but later released without charge

A student protester who displayed a banner demanding education reform during the prime minister’s Anti-Corruption Day speech yesterday was apprehended by security guards and turned over to Pathumwan Police Station, before being released.

The Mathayom 5 (Grade 11) student from a prestigious high school said he had planned to put his petition for education reform directly in the PM’s hand with the intention of cultivating an anti-graft mentality.

The message on the banner was neither violent nor offensive to the government or anyone, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was at the Centara Grand Hotel delivering a speech on the government’s progress in promoting reform and tackling the corruption problem.

“The government is not hunting down anyone. We are just bringing unresolved cases to justice,” he said.

“Even though I can do anything by employing Section 44, the use of this power is not interfering with the judicial system. My duty is to enforce legislation so that the country can move on,” he said.

During the question-and-answer session following the speech, the

student hoisted his banner and asked the PM to cut back the citizens’ duty class, add philosophy to the education curriculum and improve the teaching of history by making it less nationalistic.

The student was visited at the police station by members of Thammasat University’s Dome Front Agora.

His parents also went to the station to meet with police before he was released without charge.

Prayut was reportedly not surprised by the student’s outburst and he even saw the funny side.

“What’s happening? He’s still young. Please take good care of him and please understand the security officers, they have had to watch over me carefully lately.”

He jokingly asked if the student was on “his side” and told the

security guards to be gentle with him if he was.