When will Pheu Thai get over Thaksin

The past few weeks saw a flurry of political activity in Dubai and Hong Kong as fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra held court to receive visitors from Bangkok and issued instructions to his Pheu Thai MPs on "urgent" political issues.

  • Published: 27/03/2013 at 03:12 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Several Pheu Thai MPs, including some ministerial portfolio hopefuls, flew to Dubai over a week ago hoping for his blessing, prompting speculation of an impending cabinet shakeup.

But their hopes were dashed because Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is still happy with her teammates. She is in no mood to remove any of them, even though the performance of some of the ministers have been way below par, such as Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom.

Thaksin also Skyped in, instructing his MPs to move fast on amending the constitution section by section. His orders sparked quick response. The party’s MPs and their colleagues in the Senate joined hands to present three bills to amend the charter on four issues, including the removal of a section on party dissolution and the five-year banishment from politics of the party’s executive board, to provide for a fully elected Senate, and an amendment requiring all petitions to the Constitution Court to be first vetted - and hence weeded out - by the Office of the Attorney-General.

Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

The former premier is currently in Hong Kong, reportedly to supervise the debate in the parliament on the two trillion baht loan bill on Thursday and Friday.

Pheu Thai MPs have been sternly warned not to miss the House debate, even if they don't take part in it - or they could be fired or otherwise replaced.

Thaksin wants the loan bill to pass so that it can be claimed as a major achievement by the government. They have a clear majority anyway.

Thaksin’s active, and far from covert, involvement in the government’s major decisions and the Pheu Thai’s submission to his wishes makes a mockery of the party’s frequent calls that his critics should get over over Thaksin so the country can get out of the political quagmire and move on.

Instead, the party should be asking itself - when will it ever get over Thaksin?
Regarding the two trillion baht loan for the development of infrastructure mega projects, I have no objection to the projects if they will improve the country’s competitiveness and long-term economy, and if the projects are implemented with full transparency.

My only reservation is that if the government is more than willing to invest two trillion baht on infrastructure development, why can the government not invest, say 10%, of that huge amount of money on human resources development -  so the ordinary Thai people will be as smart as their politicians, if not as tricky. Or, at the least, they will be able to judge for themselves without being led by the nose by the politicians.

Imagine a country with state of the art technology and infrastructure, but the majority of its population stuck in the old mindset because the government is reluctant to invest in their development. Is there a real future for such a country?

About the author

Writer: Veera Prateepchaikul
Position: Former Editor

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