Thaksin lists 10 ‘lost opportunities’ for Thailand on anniversary of 2006 coup
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Monday he had been “stabbed in the back” by supposedly professional soldiers whose coup 19 years ago had cost Thailand the chance to develop.
Posting on Facebook on the anniversary of the 2006 military takeover led by then Army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin, Thaksin issued a list of opportunities he said Thailand had lost due to the coup.
“I was stealthily bitten from behind by those who called themselves professional soldiers,” he wrote of the coup, which occurred while he was attending the UN general assembly in New York.
“I regret the country losing positive things that should have happened but instead eventually turned into negatives,” Thaksin wrote.
He listed 10 pillars of progress Thailand lost because of the 2006 coup as:
- Democratic rule under the so-called people’s constitution of 1997. “These days, we are under a charter that was written to extend the coup-makers dictatorial powers,” he wrote of the 2017 Constitution written under the junta regime.
- Reputation of the country and trust in the eyes of the international community.
- Development of education, technology, agriculture and industry.
- Eradication of poverty. “There should have been no more poor people in Thailand.”
- Opportunities for Thais. “Now, Thais don’t see a [better] future. They simply work and live for today. Their income is lower than other nations at the same development level.”
- Suvarnabhumi Airport becoming an international aviation hub. “Given our geopolitical position, we should have been at the centre of Asean.”
- Thai children free from narcotics. “Now, drugs can be bought more easily than chewing gum.”
- Protection against floods. “The country has suffered repeated flooding because the government failed to manage water resources systematically.”
- A modern Thai bureaucracy. “Now, the people have to plead with officials for services.”
- A country freed from debt. “Thailand is having to borrow more money because of mismanagement, meaning the public debt ceiling had to be raised. Household debts have risen so high that people are struggling to make repayments.”
Thaksin added that the government of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, also a coup leader, did not know how to earn revenue for the country. Prayut staged the 2014 putsch against the elected administration of Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra.
“I’ve told you that soldiers are like chief security guards with a duty to guard assets and maintain security. They should not be CEOs or national administrators as they only know how to spend money, not earn it,” Thaksin wrote.
He also urged Thais to support democracy and stand up against all forms of dictatorship.
“This will help our children see a future and choose their own paths,” he wrote.
“I am now 73 years old but I cannot help worrying about the future of our country and our children.”
He also expressed hope of being able to return to Thailand to take care of his grandchildren and share his knowledge with society.
Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 to escape a corruption ruling and has lived in exile ever since. A controversial 2013 amnesty bill that would have paved the way for his return instead triggered street protests which culminated in the 2014 coup against Yingluck’s government.