Getting off to a good start

Getting off to a good start

In a dire bid to show off his decisiveness and ability as a promising PM, Srettha Thavisin tries to give an impression that he is ready to act tough against those in his team who fail to deliver on government policies.

Shortly before his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Mr Srettha announced he would not accept "cannot" or "no" as excuses from those in charge of policy implementation from his party.

He insisted the budget, laws and regulations would not be a problem. He vowed to remove those who fail to deliver.

At a glance, such a fresh start may sound like welcome news.

After all, the administration is under pressure to restore trust and credibility after breaking up with the Move Forward Party.

The new administration must assure the public that there will be no vested interests or nepotism in pursuing its policies.

The PM is facing rising pressure, given various demands from stakeholders, and he has to make judgements which will require compromise.

While it's understood the Srettha administration has to push hard to achieve an economic turnaround (its ambitious flagship policies include the 10,000-baht digital wallet for those over 16 years old and a rise in the daily minimum wage), it also needs to strike a balance between economic and social development.

The government must do the utmost in particular to address the thorny issues overlooked by its predecessor such as inequality and community rights.

It's necessary for the new government to review certain cases and return justice to those who deserve it, for instance, the ethnic Karen villagers of Bang Kloi who were evicted from their ancestral land in Phetchaburi's Kaeng Krachan National Park, and the family of activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen, victim of a forced disappearance.

There are also lingering issues like the contentious Chana industrial development zone in Songkhla, among other projects that threaten both the ecology and livelihoods of local people.

At the same time, Mr Srettha needs to rethink his pledge to re-address regulations involving illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, taking into consideration the national interest, not just the benefits of some fishing groups.

Mr Srettha, the former CEO of a local real estate development firm, will find it tough running the country, not only because he is a rookie politician but because of the way the cabinet seats are allocated, seemingly disregarding the principle of putting the right man in the right job, such as the government's decision to assign a retired police general to the national resources and environmental protection portfolio.

With zero experience or knowledge in their fields, these ministers will have to depend on bureaucrats, who are used to an archaic top-down administration style, and be wary that this may get in the way of fair decision-making.

His new job requires Mr Srettha to be a good listener -- deep listening to all concerned, not just those from the wealthy circles he is familiar with, so he can make the right decisions.

The public would be more than pleased if Mr Srettha and his administration set themselves a deadline when declaring policies before parliament on Monday. This could make a real difference so early in their administration.


Bangkok Post editorial column

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

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