Govt turns deaf ear

Govt turns deaf ear

While the House was recently holding votes on the no-confidence debate, many members of the public also cast their votes in parallel in a campaign called "voice of the people".

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and 10 other cabinet members comfortably survived the censure motion in the House. But they failed miserably in the people's vote outside parliament.

The "voice of the people" campaign is a collaboration of academics from four universities, civil groups and four television channels.

It encouraged people to vote online for the prime minister and grilled ministers in parallel with the parliamentary vote.

The campaign drew a surprising large 524,806 votes.

Of them, 97% cast a vote of no-confidence in Gen Prayut and seven of his ministers and 96% cast a vote of no-confidence in the other three ministers.

Despite the rules of one device for one vote, it is possible some people used more than one mobile phone to cast a vote. However, with so many votes being logged, the results are significant.

The government should not ignore their voices.

A day after the parliament vote, Super Poll Research Centre released a survey of 2,175 people in which most respondents expressed confidence in Gen Prayut and his members.

Regardless of the mixed outcome, Gen Prayut and the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) must look in the mirror and find out why they lag in the people's vote.

It is a time for them to fix the problems and improve their performance to serve people's expectations.

There are three major factors behind the recent worsening in the government's popularity.

Firstly, the government runs the country without a clear strategy for solving economic problems.

While people are suffering from price hikes, the government simply passes the buck, saying global economic conditions are to blame, and that not all prices have risen.

Gen Prayut recently set up a special committee to handle the economic problems but all members are in his cabinet anyway, joined by state officials and National Security Council soldiers.

Secondly, the government is seen to focus on maintaining its power and ignores the people's voice.

The prime minister has yet to reshuffle cabinet after the debate despite questions raised about some of his ministers' integrity.

Recently, parliament has been busy working out the method for calculating party-list seats at the next election, in which politicians have sparred over whether to divide the number of constituency seats won by each party by 100 or 500.

Unsurprisingly, the government is trying to get the most favourable rules designed to keep it in power.

Thirdly, Gen Prayut promised to tackle corruption after he staged his coup in May 2014 but his government has failed to keep its word.

Thailand fell six places in the latest Corruption Perceptions Index, conducted by Transparency International early this year.

The country was placed 110th with a score of 35 out of 100 in the 2021 survey, a drop from 104th a year ago. Thailand was far below the global average score of 45.

Gen Prayut and his government must learn to heed the "voice of people", even if they have things to say which might displeasing to their ears. The alternative is a drubbing at the ballot box.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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