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Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 10:06 AM | 20-07-2014

Columnists take Thai junta to task

Is Thailand better off now than it was two months ago, when the Thai Army, led by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, took power in a bloodless coup?

The question was debated in popular columns of the mass-circulation Thai-language daily Thai Rath during 16-19 July 2014.

Columnist Mud Lek (Iron Fist) hit out at the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for suspending the election of members of local administration assemblies, and replacing them with appointed representatives.

“By doing so, the junta has trampled on the rights and freedom of the Thai people,” wrote the columnist.

“Was the order designed to pave the way for people close to the junta to usurp power?” he asked.

The columnist also questioned the NCPO’s motives behind the controversial transfer of senior civil servants and state enterprise administrators, suggesting that it reeks of nepotism.

“Yes-men will take over to serve the powers-that-be,” he claimed.

Drawing on lessons from world history, columnist Kilen Pralongcherng warned the ruling junta against using excessive measures against people who disagree with them.

History tells us that we must learn from past mistakes, and that nothing is permanent.   

“You may win today and lose everything tomorrow,” wrote Kilen. “Those basking in victory should not be too arrogant.”

Analysing the NCPO’s political roadmap, columnist Lom Plientit (Weather Vane) said there will be no full freedom in Thailand for at least a year, as the junta tightens its grip on the country.

“The NCPO will work alongside a new government that it will set up,” he noted. “It will maintain its special powers, and it will not tolerate dissent.”

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