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New Cabinet: Military runs the show with civilian support

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As expected, top military figures dominate the new Prayuth 1 cabinet, but they will have support from prominent bureaucrats and technocrats. 

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(Left to right) Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy Prime Minster Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda climbed through the ranks of the army together, from junior-level officer to commanders of the 2nd Infantry Division (Queen's Guard) based in the eastern province of Prachin Buri, widely known as the Burapha Payak (Tigers of the East) group.

Here is the Bangkok Post's morning story on the new cabinet written by two of our most senior reporters: Wassana Nanuam who covers the Thai military and Pradit Ruangdit, veteran political reporter who is also head of Thai Journalists Association.

Military, bureaucrats to run cabinet

Wassana Nanuam
Pradit Ruangdit

The Prayuth Chan-ocha cabinet, which came into effect yesterday, is dominated by military officers with the strong support of bureaucrats and technocrats.

Of 32 ministerial members taking up 34 positions, 11 of them are military officers who dominate core ministries such as Transport, Commerce, Interior, Education, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Justice.

However, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is aware that experienced hands may be needed in the economics portfolios, and is prepared to ask the military to step aside in these cases.

MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, a former deputy prime minister and former finance minister, will take on the role of deputy prime minister overseeing the economy.

Joining Gen Prawit as deputy prime ministers are Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn, MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, Yongyut Yuttawong, Wissanu Krea-Ngam

Meanwhile, Sommai Pasi, former deputy secretary-general for finance and former deputy finance minister in the Surayud Chulanont administration, will serve as finance minister, and Narongchai Akrasanee, a senior economist and former commerce minister as energy minister.

In several ministries where military officers take the helm, senior civil servants and technocrats are appointed as deputy ministers to help them.

Wuthisarn Tanchai, King Prajadhipok’s Institute deputy secretary-general, said deputies would be able to help ministers drawn from the military in the event they are stumped by an issue.

For example, ACM Prajin Juntong is appointed transport minister while Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, former secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, is deputy minister. “However, no matter who is minister, the direction of the cabinet will be controlled by the NCPO,” he said.

In the military ministerial area, some hold posts in the cabinet, the NCPO and the army, such as assistant army chief Gen Chatchai Sarikalya who is named commerce minister.

Gen Chatchai, who is deputy chief of the NCPO’s economic affairs, is expected to be made deputy army chief in the annual reshuffle.

It is believed some cabinet posts have been offered as rewards for officers expected to miss key posts in the upcoming military reshuffle.

Gen Prayuth is expected to take his cabinet ministers to attend a swearing-in ceremony before His Majesty the King at Siriraj Hospital tomorrow.

Some critics see the military-dominated cabinet as a step to consolidate the junta’s power. Half of the National Legislative Assembly, the country’s legislature, is made up of military officers and police or those who have close ties with the military.

During his weekly televised address on Friday night, Gen Prayuth said the security situation has not been fully settled so he needs his fellow officers whom he trusts to help him run the country. A source said Gen Prayuth prepared the Cabinet line-up on his own.

Former deputy prime minister and key Pheu Thai figure Pongthep Thepkanchana said the image of the new cabinet under Gen Prayuth was not as important as its policy. He urged Gen Prayuth to deliver a policy statement to the NLA so people will know where the country is heading next.

 

Minister

Title

Prime Minister

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha

NCPO

Deputy PMs

Gen Prawit Wongsuwon

NCPO

Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn

MR Pridiyathorn Devakula

Former deputy PM

Yongyut Yuttawong

Former science and technology minister

Wissanu Krea-Ngam

Former deputy PM

Agriculture

Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya

Former agriculture permanent secretary

Commerce

Gen Chatchai Sarikulya

NCPO

[Deputy] Apiradee Tantraporn

Former deputy commerce permanent secretary

Culture

Veera Rojpojanarat

Former culture permanent secretary

Defence

Gen Prawit Wongsuwon

NCPO

[Deputy] Gen Udomdej Sitabutr

Education

 

Adm Narong Pipathanasai

NCPO

[Deputy] Lt Gen Surachet Chaiyawong

[Deputy] Krissanapong Keeratikorn

Former secretary general, Higher Education Commission

Energy

Narongchai Akrasanee

Former commerce minister

Finance

Sommai Pasi

Former deputy finance minister

Foreign affairs

Gen Tanasak Patimapragorn

NCPO

[Deputy] Don Pramudwinai

Former Thai permanent representative to United Nations

Industry

Chakramon Phasukvanich

Former industry permanent secretary

Information and communication technology

Pornchai Rujiprapa

Former science permanent secretary

Interior

Gen Anupong Paochinda

NCPO

[Deputy] Suthi Makboon

Former deputy interior permanent secretary

Justice

Gen Paiboon Khoomchaya

NCPO

Labour

Gen Surasak Kanchanarat

NCPO

Natural resources and environment

Gen Daopong Rattanasuwan

NCPO

PM’s Office

ML Panadda Diskul

PM’s Office permanent secretary

Suwapan Tanyuwattana

Director, National Intelligence Bureau

Public health

Rajata Rajatanavin

President, Mahidol University

[Deputy] Somsak Choonharat

Secretary general, Health Foundation of Thailand

Science and technology

Pichet Durongkaveroj

Secretary general, National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Office

Social development and human security

Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew

NCPO

Tourism and sports

Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul

CEO, Toshiba Thailand

Transport

ACM Prajin Juntong

NCPO

[Deputy] Arkhom Termpittayapaisith

Secretary general, National Economic and Social Development Board

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Vocabulary:

address: a formal speech - คำปราศรัย

administration: government - รัฐบาล

annual: happening once a year - ประจำปี

appointed: officially chosen for a job - ถูกแต่งตั้ง

assembly: a group of people who have been elected or chosen in order to discuss issues and make decisions - สภา, สมัชชา

association: an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม

aware: to know that something exists, or to have knowledge or experience of a particular thing - ทราบ

bureaucrats: people who work in government departments - ข้าราชการ

cabinet: the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy - คณะรัฐมนตรี

civil servants: people who work in the government departments responsible for putting central government plans into action - ข้าราชการ

climb through the ranks: to gradually move up in an organisation, beginning from a low position to higher and more important positions -

come into effect: to begin to be used - เริ่มใช้

commander: the head of an army or army unit - ผู้บังคับบัญชา

consolidate: to make the power, position or achievements you already have stronger or more effective - รวมเป็นหนึ่ง

core: the most important or most basic part of something - ที่สำคัญที่สุด

critic: someone who gives their opinion about something - นักวิจารณ์

deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

dominated: controlled - ถูกควบคุม  ถูกชักใย บงการ

figure: someone who is important in some way - บุคคลสำคัญ

hand: a person who does work -

helm: in official control of an organisation or company - มีตำแหน่งผู้ควบคุม

image: an opinion that people have about someone or something - ภาพลักษณ์

in the event: if; if something happens - ถ้ามีบางสิ่งเกิดขึ้น

infantry: soldiers who fight on foot, not on horses or in tanks or other vehicles - ทหารราบ

issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

journalist: a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television - ผู้สื่อข่าว

junta: a group of military officers that governs a country, usually without having been elected - รัฐบาลทหาร

key: very important - ที่สำคัญ

legislative: involving the part of government responsible for creating new laws - เกี่ยวข้องกับสภานิติบัญญัติ

legislature: the part of government that makes and changes laws - สภานิติบัญญติ

meanwhile: at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO): The military-installed group ruling Thailand following the 2014 coup d'état - คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ

no matter (who, what, etc.): always true, whatever the situation is - ไม่ว่าในกรณีใด, มิไย

on your own: by yourself with no-one helping you -

oversee: to watch or organise a job or an activity to make certain that it is being done correctly - คุมงาน,ควบคุม

policy: a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย

portfolio: control over a ministry; all the responsibilities of a government minister - ตำแหน่งรัฐมนตรี

post: a job/position in a company or organisation - ตำแหน่งการงาน

reshuffle: the process of changing the jobs or responsibilities of people in a particular group or organisation - การปรับหรือโยกย้ายตำแหน่งคนในองค์กร

reward: something given in exchange for good behaviour or good work, etc - รางวัล

role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท

secretary-general: the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่

security: protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย

senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

settle: to become or make somebody/something become calm or relaxed - ปรับตัว

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

stumped: confused; not knowing what to do - ตันปัญญา

swearing-in ceremony: an official ceremony in which someone beginning an important job formally promises to do their duty - พิธีสาบานตนเข้ารับตำแหน่ง

technocrat: an expert in science, engineering, etc. who has a lot of power in politics and/or industry - นักวิชาการ

ties: relations; connections - ความสัมพันธ์

trust: to believe someone is honest, fair, and reliable - เชื่อใจ, ไว้วางใจ

upcoming: happening soon; available soon - ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา

urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น

veteran: a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity - ผู้อาวุโส

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