By WASAMON AUDJARINT
PHRA SUTHEP Thaugsuban leaves the monkhood today and will not return to the political arena.
Instead he will work as an “ordinary person” to support reforms at a person-to-person level, a spokesman of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), Akanat Promphan, said yesterday.
Phra Suthep, who is residing at Wat Suan Mokkh temple, is scheduled give up his saffron robes this morning at Wat Tri Thammaram, in Surat Thani’s Muang district.
The former PDRC leader will then return to Bangkok and announce his plans for the future. Suthep has been in the monkhood for one year and 12 days, since July 15 last year.
He will speak to the press about his plans and political future, with members of the Great Mass of People’s Foundation for Thailand’s Reforms.
Phra Suthep denied he would take part in the yet-to-be-established Reform Movement Council. But he said he and the foundation would focus on reforming the country and he was willing to support the council’s reform movement.
“I had earlier announced that after my political fight for the country, I would not accept any post,” he said.
The former Democrat heavyweight led the 203-day anti-government protest against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra that finally led to the May 22 military coup.
Akanat said Suthep would continue a reform plan he had insisted upon since his leadership of the PDRC. As an ordinary person, Suthep would chair a Great Mass of People’s Foundation for Thailand’s Reforms, which was registered this year. Akanat would become the foundation’s committee member and secretary.
The foundation’s objective is to practise reform at a people-to-people level “as we think we don’t have to wait for the government to do everything. We, as people, can do something about that by ourselves,” he said.
Such efforts would be practised through carrying out projects, he added. The first typical one would be establishment of a vocational college at Koh Samui, Surat Thani. The curriculum is said to foster Buddhist morality, together with vocational knowledge, to students.
The foundation would raise funds through projects to help those affected from political rallies and uprisings, he said. Fundraising was also the only way the foundation would obtain its budget, Akanat added, as it was set to be non-profit organisation.
As of now, the foundation does not have any budget as it will not have practised anything concretely “until Phra Suthep becomes a chairman” of the foundation.
Akanat added the foundation was now independent. There hadn’t been a plan to cooperate with any political or governmental agencies so far, including Suthep’s former workplace, the Democrat Party, “but it’ll be fine for us to join with anyone sharing the same goals and mindset”.
He did not worry about possible reaction from the National Council for Peace and Order on Suthep’s return, saying that entering and leaving the monkhood was one’s own business.