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Thais split on whether Yingluck will come back

Posted by pakin On July - 21 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

ABOUT HALF OF people in a recent survey back the junta’s granting of permission for ousted prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to take a short trip out of the country, but opinions were split 41:39 on whether she would actually return, according to Nida Poll.

The results released yesterday on the survey conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration from July 18-19 on 1,247 respondents nationwide showed 52-per-cent approval of Yingluck’s vacation to Europe, since she has a citizen’s right to do that.

She also seemed quite willing to cooperate with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). However, 40 per cent thought she should remain in the country to clear doubts that she may try to seek asylum abroad.

The NCPO has allowed Yingluck and her son to travel abroad from July 20-August 10, but the National Anti-Corruption Commission decided unanimously last week to seek her criminal indictment for alleged dereliction of duty in overseeing the rice-pledging scheme.

When asked if Yingluck will attend her brother Thaksin’s birthday party on July 26 during her stay in France, 77 per cent thought she would, while 9 per cent believed otherwise. About 14 per cent had no comment or were unsure.

According to another survey by Bangkok Poll on police reform, 91 per cent wanted the overhaul by the NCPO while only 9 per cent did not. About 67 per cent believed provincial police should be under the direct command of the governor while 33 per cent disagreed.

About 89 per cent felt police policy committees should be restructured to minimise influence from the political sector and 64.5 per cent that the current police chief should be allowed to select his successor. The other respondents disagreed.

Large majorities of 82 per cent agreed that the permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry should be appointed to the National Police Policy Commission and of 89.5 per cent that the selection criteria for the police chief should not be based on seniority, as proposed, but rather ability and performance.

When asked what was the most urgent issue needing the attention of the police chief, 35 per cent said corruption, 26 per cent said security of lives and property and 20 per cent illicit drugs.

Master Poll also conducted research on leadership attributes that people most want to see. High on the list were being tough (88 per cent), brave and decisive (77 per cent), loyalty to the monarch (62 per cent), honesty (61 per cent), determined and selfless (56 per cent) and responsibility on duty (56) per cent.

About 53 per cent preferred a leader with clear vision, while |others mentioned ability and capability, experience, vision, strategic planning, open mindedness, interpersonal skills, and good posture and looks.

A leader who is wealthy was the choice of almost 11 per cent.

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s overseas trip is not intended to escape the legal cases against her stemming from the ousted government’s rice price-pledging scheme, her lawyer said yesterday.

Norawit Lalaeng, who is Yingluck’s lawyer, said the ex-PM had “full fighting spirit” and is confident of her innocence.

“She has no intention of escaping the cases. This overseas trip is really for her to take a rest,” he said.

“She worked with no vacation for over two years. It’s a rumour that she is going to escape and live overseas.”

Norawit was responding to speculation that Yingluck would not return to Thailand, after the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) gave her permission to leave the country.

He said the junta had allowed Yingluck, accompanied by her son Supasek Amornchat, to leave the country.

A source close to Yingluck said she had sent a letter to NCPO chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday, seeking permission to go on a vacation with her son. She would leave Thailand on Tuesday and the trip would last 10 to 15 days.

Yingluck’s itinerary covers France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The source said Prayuth gave permission without any condition. However, a military source told Agence France-Presse that Yingluck must inform the authorities of her whereabouts through the Thai embassies overseas in those countries while travelling.

The source said she would also meet her brother, exiled former premier Thaksin Shinawtara, in Paris for his 65th birthday on July 26.

Yingluck faces 32 cases. Some involve an investigation while others are at the fact-finding stage.

Among the key cases are the Bt350-billion water management scheme, the Bt2-trillion loan for infrastructure projects, alleged corruption in the rice-pledging scheme, alleged concealment of assets, and an impeachment case related to the rice scheme.

NCPO deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said yesterday that the junta had approved Yingluck’s request for the overseas trip because she had never acted in a way that violated or defied its conditions and orders prohibiting her from making any political move or leaving the country without permission.

He added that she had fully cooperated with the NCPO.

The spokesman said the NCPO’s working committee in charge of considering the vacation request had givenYingluck the green light to travel overseas.

Recently, the National Anti-Corruption Commission disclosed that Yingluck’s wealth had increased by Bt33 million while she was in office.

As of May 7, when she was disqualified from office following a Constitutional Court ruling, she had assets worth Bt601 million and Bt28 million debt. Most of her wealth is from stocks she holds in many companies.

Yingluck plans to visit Europe

Posted by pakin On July - 17 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra is expected to receive approval from Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), to travel to Europe on Sunday night.

Ms Yingluck has sent a letter seeking formal permission to leave the country to Gen Prayuth, who led the May 22 coup that ousted her former government.

In the letter she said she planned a vacation with her son, Supasek Amornchat, in Europe from July 21 to Aug 10.

Observers expect Ms Yingluck to also attend a 65th birthday party for her elder brother and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in France on July 26.

Since early this month many key figures of Ms Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party have requested permission from the NCPO to leave the country.

A source in the NCPO said Gen Prayuth was likely to approve Ms Yingluck’s request because notice of her plans had earlier been given informally and Gen Prayuth had given verbal approval. That led to her written and official request.

Ms Yingluck was required to report her movements during her overseas trip. She also planned to visit England, the source said.

A source close to Ms Yingluck said that she would return to Thailand. Her flight is scheduled to depart  early Monday morning.

NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said on Thursday that Ms Yingluck was complying with the NCPO’s previous request for her cooperation. The NCPO did not overly limit people’s rights and was focusing on seeking cooperation.

Ms Yingluck had not resisted any instructions or peace-keeping efforts, so the NCPO did not reject her request, Col Winthai said.

Thaksin birthday bash ‘in Paris’

Posted by pakin On July - 12 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will celebrate his 65th birthday on July 26 in Paris, France, a Pheu Thai source says.

Only relatives and close friends are expected to attend the celebration since a number of key Pheu Thai Party politicians are still prohibited from travelling by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the source said.

If they wish to leave the country, they must seek NCPO permission first.

The former premier chose to have the birthday party in Paris because he feared holding it anywhere near Thailand would be interpreted as a political move, the source said.

It remains unclear whether his younger sister and former premier Yingluck Shinawatra will attend the party.

Meanwhile, birthday celebrations usually held by Thaksin supporters at Wat Kaew Fa in Nonthaburi’s Bang Kruai district will not be held this year.

The announcement was made yesterday by Singthong Buachum, a former Bangkok MP candidate for the Pheu Thai Party.

He said current political circumstances were not conducive to holding the event at the temple now that the country was under the control of the military junta.

The temple’s abbot has been informed, Mr Singthong said.

He said he had discussed the matter with Thaksin who agreed it was better that birthday celebrations did not take place at the temple this year.

Thaksin wants the NCPO to press ahead with its efforts to return the country to democracy so that elections are held as quickly as possible, Mr Singthong said.

Talking about Thaksin’s birthday party in Paris, former Democrat MP Watchara Phetthong said the former premier would likely use the event to send some kind of signal to his supporters.

He urged Thaksin to return and face punishment in Thailand.

He also called on the NCPO to ask French authorities to repatriate Thaksin.

Thaksin was ousted in the 2006 coup and and later fled the country to avoid a two-year jail term handed down for an abuse of power conviction stemming from an illegal land deal.

Last year, more than 100 MPs and ministers from Pheu Thai reportedly flew to Hong Kong to extend their birthday wishes to Thaksin.

He also broadcast a message to well-wishers who attended a merit-making ceremony to mark his birthday at Wat Kaew Fah.