Some frank advice from senior statesman Anand Panyarachun on where Thai politics is heading and what should be done.
Read another article on reform of the justice system that complements this article by Jon Ungpakorn here.
Also read about a prosecutor who wants a new contempt of court law to make criticism of prosecutors illegal (read today's editorial and Sunday's article).
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Anand warns of a grab to control power by Pradit Ruangdit
Attempts are being made to centralise economic, political and administrative power, which poses a major problem for the country, former prime minister Anand Panyarachun has warned.
Mr Anand, in a speech on judicial procedures and fairness in society, yesterday said a certain group of people had been trying to gain "absolute power" in all branches - the legislative, executive and judiciary.
"What Thailand is witnessing is an attempt to gain absolute power in economic and administrative affairs. This group of people's ultimate goal is to enjoy absolute power in all matters," the former prime minister said in a speech at a fund-raiser for building a monument to mark the 1992 Black May uprising in Bangkok yesterday.
He warned that Thailand would go nowhere if the country adheres strictly to the letter of the law. There has been a total failure in legislation, enforcement of laws and those enforcing the laws, he said.
Justice will prevail if concerned agencies had a better understanding of morality and righteousness, he said.
He called for the dissolution of the Council of State, the government's legal arm, as the country should not be run by the application of the law alone. Besides, those sitting on the council were too old, most were aged between 70 and 80, he said.
He said there should not be any more coups in light of the fact that prior ones had failed to usher in better changes for the country.
What the country receives from a coup is only military men who did not know how to administer the country.
He said he had found many Thais had no awareness of things around them and did not bother to demand what they were entitled to from the government.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission chairman Kanit na Nakorn said the government had focused mainly on the economy while paying scant attention to the justice system.
All justice systems must be credible and state prosecutors should be more active, Mr Kanit said at the session.
(Source: Bangkok Post, Anand warns of a grab to control power, 3/10/2011, Pradit Ruangdit, link)
power - the ability to control events or the ability to influence the behaviour of others or the capacity to restructure situations อำนาจ (See Wikipedia)
absolute - complete ทั้งสิ้น โดยสิ้นเชิง
absolute power - complete power over everything อำนาจเด็ดขาด (Lord Acton wrote "All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely")
matter - same as "affair"
affairs - all the activities connected to a person or subject การงาน กิจธุระ, เรื่อง, หัวข้อ, ประเด็น
enjoy absolute power in all matters - have absolute power in all governmental activities
a grab to control power - same as a "power grab"
a power grab - when one group tries to gain power from another group which currently holds power
centralize power - when most decisions are made a few at the very top (as opposed to decentralized power spread close to where the events happen)
centralise economic, political and administrative power
frank advice - advice that is expressed in a very open and honest way
senior statesman - "a politician or other notable public figure who has had a long and respected career in politics or government at the national and international level. As a term of respect, it is usually left to supporters or commentators to use the term. When politicians retire, they are often referred to as elder statesmen" or "senior statesman" (See Wikipedia)
where Thai politics is heading - what the future will be
Jon Ungpakorn - "(Thai จอน อึ๊งภากรณ์, born September 19, 1947) is a London-born Thai non-governmental organization (NGO) executive and member of the Senate of Thailand...of Chinese-Thai and British parentage. His father was the revered Dr Puey Ungpakorn" (See Wikipedia)
Ramon Magsaysay Award - every year prizes are presented to Asian individuals and organizations in recognition for achieving excellence in their respective fields: Government Service, Public Service, Community Leadership, Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, Peace and International Understanding, and Emergent Leadership (See Wikipedia and website)
laureate - a person who has won a prize
justice system - the legal system, including the criminal justice system that includes police, prosecutors and judiciary (See Wikipedia)
prosecutor - a government official who is a lawyer who brings charges against people accused of a crime and tries to prove they are guilty in a court trial (See Wikipedia)
state - government รัฐ
state prosecutors - same as "prosecutors"
contempt of court - when a court declares that a person or organization has disobeyed or been disrespectful of the court's authority during a court trial or hearing, an punishes the offender with a fine or imprisonment (See Wikipedia)
poses a major problem - creates a very big problem
judicial - related to the legal system and decisions made in courts of law
judicial procedures - the rules by which a court hears and determines what happens in lawsuits, criminal cases and administrative proceedings, rules are designed to ensure a fair and consistent application of the law to all cases that come before a court ... "The substantive law, which refers to the actual claims and defenses whose validity is tested through the procedures of procedural law, is different than procedural law," also called "procedural law" (See Wikipedia)
fairness in society
branches - same as "branches of the government"
branches of the government - under the "separation of powers" model of government" the state is "divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that no one branch has more power than the other branches. The normal division of branches is into an executive, a legislature, and a judiciary" (See Wikipedia)
legislative - legislative branch of government, parliament
executive - executive branch of government, the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy, the ministries of governent as well as the military and police (See Wikipedia)
judiciary - the part of a country's government which is responsible for its legal system and which consists of all the judges in the country's courts of law คณะตุลาการ, คณะผู้พิพากษา
affairs - all the activities connected to a person or subject การงาน กิจธุระ, เรื่อง, หัวข้อ, ประเด็น
economic affairs - economic subjects or activities
administration (noun) - all the activities of organizing and managing the way an organization (company, government) operates
administrative affairs - all the organizing and managing activities of an organization
witness - experience, ประสบการณ
What Thailand is witnessing is an attempt to gain absolute power in economic and administrative affairs
ultimate goal - the end goal, the goal in the end (after a series or steps or a process is finished)
fund - to provide money for something เงินทุน กองทุน
fund-raiser - an event to raise money for an organization, charity or good cause (See Wikipedia)
affairs - events and activities relating to the government, politics, economy etc of a country, region, or the world ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างประเทศ
ultimate - the final result after a long series of events
matters - affairs, a situation that you must deal with that has problems
monument - a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน
mark - 1. to show respect for or commemorate; 2. to celebrate something ฉลอง 3. to show that something is happening เป็นการเริ่มต้น เป็นเครืองแสดง
uprising - a political situation in which a large group of people opposes and tries to defeat the government or a ruler การลุกฮือขึ้นก่อการปฏิวัติ
1992 Black May uprising - "(พฤษภาทมิฬ phruetsapha thamin) is a common name for the 17–20 May 1992 popular protest in Bangkok against the government of General Suchinda Kraprayoon and the bloody military crackdown that followed. Up to 200,000 people demonstrated in central Bangkok at the height of the protests. The military crackdown resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and over 3,500 arrests. Many of those arrested allegedly were tortured" (See Wikipedia)
a monument to mark the 1992 Black May uprising - a statue to help people remember the event
Thailand would go nowhere
strictly - in a very limited or limiting way; exactly or correctly; completely อย่างเข้มงวด
the letter of the law - exactly what the law says (not modified by compassionate, moral and righteous interpretation)
adheres strictly to the letter of the law - do exactly what the law says (even if it is not the right and moral thing to do)
legislation - a law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament กฎหมาย, การออกกฎหมาย
total failure in legislation - parliamentary process unable to create laws (process = hearings and fact-finding followed by drafting laws followed by bipartisan debate and passage of modified compromise law; instead administration is done by cabinet decrees of the ruling party)
enforcement of laws - making sure a law is obeyed and punishing people if it is not obeyed (what police are supposed to do) บังคับใช้กฎหมาย
justice - when people are treated fairly and equally (See Wikipedia) ความยุติธรรม
justice will prevail - what happens will be fair and justice will be the normal outcome
concerned agencies - the government agencies involved in these activities
morality - a system of values and principles accepted by people in a society (See Wikipedia)
righteousness - the quality of being correct according to the law or to proper standards of behaviour ความชอบธรรม
dissolution - officially breaking up and ending an organisation ยุบ ยุติ การยุบ
arm - a part of an organisation that deals with a particular subject or activity หน่วยงาน ส่วนหนึ่งของ
X in light of the fact that Y - X is true, given or because Y is true
X ushers in Y - event X leads to situation Y (also note: an "usher" is a person who shows people where they should sit, especially at a formal event such as a wedding or at a theatre or cinema เจ้าหน้าที่นำแขกไปยังที่นั่ง )
usher in better changes for the country - led to good changes in the country
awareness - the state of knowing about something การรับรู้, การทราบ
entitled - having the right to have or do something มีสิทธิโดยชอบ
did not bother to do Y - did not spend any time doing Y (not worth it to them)
did not bother to demand what they were entitled to from the government
reconciliation - the process of becoming friends again after fighting
X pays attention to Y - being concerned about something (example: justice) in what you do
paying scant attention to the justice system - not concerned about the justice system
credible - able to be believed or trusted (based on past actions and achievements) น่าเชื่อถือ
active - working, operating, doing its job
session - a formal meeting การชุมนุม ประชุม