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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
PM's Abhisit Police Battle
That it has become a high-stake high drama is now obvious. Still it's still difficult for me to imagine why such a mundane issue as an appointment of a new police chief should deserve such a special attention -- negotiations, bickerings and more back-room negotiations -- to the extent it is now billed as the very thing that will determine the future of the present prime minister.
Intense and vital the pending appointment is portrayed to be, no Thai has ever been informed about what qualities each eligible candidate has. Isn't that fascinating?
Indeed, we Thais are left in the dark and fed nothing. How many of the top cops are qualified? What does each of them intend to do for the police force? And for us? Will Thai cops become better with a new chief?
I find it strange that the appointment of the police chief is only a factor in the career of the PM, not in the life of all Thais.
As the exceptionally contentious battle enters its last leg -- something must be done and some kind of result must be delivered as both the incumbent chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwon and the acting one Pol Gen Thanee Somboonsap are due to retire at the end of this month, tomorrow to be exact -- all eyes are on PM Abhisit. Alas, the premier seems to be the one bearing the brunt of criticisms. Some people said he is too stubborn in pushing for the only choice of Gen Pateep Tanprasert without listening to other people's opinions. Others said the PM is naive to keep fighting for his one and only choice when he can't be sure of triumph. He has had to back down twice after all.
I think all these criticisms are off the mark, the pun unintended. PM Abhisit might be guilty of not bringing enough transparency into the appointment process but in my opinion he is still the only one who tries at all. Other people said to be involved in the process are all pushing their agenda in an enigmatic, hush-hush manner. Why? Because they are not supposed to do so. The choice is not theirs to make so they resort to conniving. When the PM stands his ground and proves to be his own man, they said the young boy was stubborn!
As the time draws near, it does seem that PM Abhisit's choice is limited. He is not over the hump regarding his preferred choice and he can't switch to endorse Pol Gen Chumphol Munmai this late in the game. Eventually, a face-saving measure may have to be put into place as a temporary way out of this messy dilemma, such as an appointment of another acting chief.
However it turns out, however imperfect the final solution to the police chief shenanigan may be, the blame should not fall on PM Abhisit. It is not the PM who fails us. It's the whole system that has failed him.