Retired General Prem Tinsulanonda also praised Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha for his “strong determination to make this country peaceful and happy, and make Thai people richer”.
The chief royal adviser made these remarks while receiving Prayut and members of his Cabinet at his Sisao Thewet residence.
Prayut, who also heads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), led a group of key Cabinet members and commanders of the Armed Forces to offer New Year wishes to the elder statesman. In response, Prem gave his blessings and shared his wisdom with the visitors.
“The prime minister should view the opposition and people who disagree with him as friends. Do not see them as enemies. It’s no use that way,” Prem said.
“Disagreement is necessary and unavoidable. I want the prime minister to behave like this: I disagree with you, but I can be your friend.
“This way, things will go smoothly. I would like the prime minister to remember this. It may prove useful for you. It worked for me,” he added.
Prem, 98, served as an unelected head of government from May 1979 to August 1986. The former Army chief and Armed Forces supreme commander is still considered a powerful figure in Thailand, despite holding no political or government positions.
Prayut responded to Prem’s advice by saying he befriended everybody. “I don’t see anyone as an enemy,” he added.
The prime minister later had a private five-minute chat with Prem in the living room, and as he was leaving, he told reporters gathered outside: “I am friendly”.
The media had to undergo tight security checks before they could enter the compound to cover the event.
Among the Cabinet members joining the prime minister on the trip were Deputy Premier General Prawit Wongsuwan, Interior Minister General Anupong Paochinda and Deputy Prime Minister General Chatchai Sarikulya.
Prayut also informed Prem that his government was running the country in line with King Rama IX’s sufficiency economy philosophy and His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s suggestion of preserving and improving the country’s cultural heritage and national pride.
The premier also lauded the elder statesman, saying his government was inspired by Prem’s honesty, patience and loyalty.
“We will continue sticking to the good examples that you have set and are still setting,” he added.
Published : December 27, 2018
By : THE NATION