Saturday, November 23, 2019

Combative PM says his future role |in politics is his ‘personal business’

Jul 03. 2017
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha opens the annual meeting of the Office of National Economic and Social Development Board at the Grand Diamond Ballroom of the Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition centre in Nonthaburi’s Pak Kret district.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha opens the annual meeting of the Office of National Economic and Social Development Board at the Grand Diamond Ballroom of the Impact Muang Thong Thani exhibition centre in Nonthaburi’s Pak Kret district.
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By THE NATION

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PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that he had become “fed up” with the media asking whether he would contest the next general election. He maintained that it was his “personal business” to make a decision and that the media should not ask him again about it.

“All the newspapers and TV stations seem to be interested with my business – if I am going to contest the election. They seem to be insanely obsessed about this as if it’s a matter of life and death for them,” Prayut said.

“Whatever people say about this, let them. It’s my business. This is my clearest answer. And don’t ask me again,” he said.

The junta leader has been under mounting pressure to make it clear whether he planned to contest the next election or solicit parliamentary support to become a non-elected prime minister.

He raised the issue while giving a speech on the 12th Economic and Social Development Plan and Thailand’s future at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi.

Prayut also criticised politicians who have filed petitions with the Constitutional Court and Administrative Court against the government’s national strategy law, adding that they seemed to have too much time on their hands. He said there was no reason to fear the national strategy law.

Democrat Party politician Wirat Kalayasiri, who is a legal expert, yesterday responded by saying that it was an issue about what was right and wrong regarding national interest.

“We need judgments from the relevant organisations [the courts] to see what is right and what is wrong,” he said.

Wirat urged the prime minister not to attempt to interfere with the judiciary’s powers. He added that politicians also had good intentions for the country and wanted to see it achieve achieve its full potential for everyone.

In his speech, Prayut also attacked Thai academics living overseas for criticising his post-coup government. He said that while the government had done many things for the country, academics still criticised the country from abroad.

He was apparently referring to academics who lived overseas in political asylum and had organised public forums criticising the junta-backed government for eroding democracy and violating human rights.

He did not name the academics but the government has previously singled out prominent activists Somsak Jeamteerasakul and Pavin Chachavalpongpun.

Prayut said his government had been trying to move Thailand forward by supporting every sector of society, including small and medium-sized enterprises and the poor. He dismissed criticism that his government was helping the rich more than the poor.

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