Sat, May 28, 2022

in-focus

Actress whips up a storm online with caustic questions for PM 


A Facebook post by an actress, scathing in its criticism of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, has drawn the attention of netizens after she posed: "Apart from praising the monarchy, are you competent on other issues?" The post drew netizens' attention to the severe floods in the South and the intensified political unrest. In

In her post, actress Focus Jeerakul questioned the government's allocation of a budget to build a new Parliament building, for use of water cannons and containers to block anti-establishment protesters, but does not seem to have a budget to help people in the South currently suffering from devastating floods. She said she wanted to donate money to support the affected people and wanted to ask "Loong" (referring to Prayut as uncle in Thai) five questions:

▪︎Is it the duty of the people (to help flood victims)?

▪︎What does the government spend its budget on, if it does not have a budget to support the people in the South?

▪︎Could you reduce the military budget, reduce budget spending to counter the protesters, and use the money saved to support flood victims?

▪︎Apart from praising the monarchy, are you competent to deal with other issues?

▪︎Apart from loving the monarchy, do you love the people? 

Focus posed her questions on Saturday when the government organised grand events to pay tribute to the late King Rama IX on his birthday. 

Her comments come in the backdrop of floods devastating many southern provinces, affecting more than 400,000 people and costing nine lives. 

About 100,000 netizens reacted emotionally to Focus’s post, clicking like, love and amused signs, over 3,000 made comments and over 10,000 shared her post. 

Focus is known for supporting the youth-led protesters who are demanding reform of the country, including curbing the power of the monarchy.

Mallika Boonmeetrakool Mahasook, adviser to the Commerce Minister, hit back at the actress via her Twitter account, saying Focus should investigate the matter before making a comment, as the government has an emergency budget to deal with floods in the South.

In her rejoinder, Focus said she had asked the questions because she is a citizen and if she knows so much about the issue, she will not ask. Focus also chided Mallika for her retort, saying the questions were not for her to answer.

Others have also posted their critical views about activities on December 5, which is celebrated as Father's Day and National Day.

National Artist Suchart Sawatsi, posting on his Facebook page, demanded that National Day be celebrated on June 24, the day that marked Thailand's shift from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy after the 1932 Revolution. 

After the revolution, June 24 was marked as National Day but the dictatorship government under Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat in 1960 changed it to December 5.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an academic living in exile in Japan, also questioned the government spending a large budget for organising events to celebrate the late King Rama IX's birthday at the expense of the taxpayers and at a time when people in the South were suffering from severe floods.

In response to Focus’s questions, Rachada Dhanadirek, deputy government spokeswoman, assured on Sunday that the government had adequate budget to support flood victims in the South.

Published : December 06, 2020

By : The Nation