FFP was singled out

Re: "It's not just about FFP", (PostBag, March 12). Khun Piya Samyan defends the Constitutional Court dissolving the Future Forward Party, because "it did violate the law regarding acquisition of income". This is about the "rule of law that is equally applied to all". I fully agree with Khun Piya that the law must be applied without fear or favour -- for if not, the government would be weaponising the law to slay its enemies, so to speak.

He goes on to say, "Indeed, the Election Commission is considering similar cases concerning other parties". But according to the Bangkok Post's Feb 21 editorial: "The EC never ... informed political parties that there are regulations barring them from taking out loans. That's because there are no such rules." Also, if we had such specific and clear rules/laws, our EC and charter court would have explicitly based their decisions on them, quoting the article/section -- but they didn't.

The same editorial informs us that "at least 32 parties, including the FFP, have sought loans to fund their activities over the past few years. Meanwhile "former EC Commissioner Somchai Srisuthyakorn [said] that at least four parties had taken out loans in 2013 ... poll officials had advised the EC that taking out loans was not illegal because it had been done by other parties and had been allowed to take place in the past".

The EC may have probed the other parties after the editorial was published -- but I haven't seen any mention of this in the media. Also, why begin investigations with the FFP and not any of the 31 other parties?

While I agree with the court's verdict, I fully agree with Khun Piya that the law must apply equally to all.

Burin Kantabutra
Anutin blind to facts

Having previously used a derogatory term to criticise westerners for not wearing face masks, a remark for which he later apologised, Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is at it again. It is reported that, on a visit to northern Chiang Mai province, he observed that Westerners were not wearing face masks, and claimed that this was why there were so many coronavirus cases in their countries. However, the World Health Organisation and many other health agencies and experts have been repeatedly saying that wearing a face mask provides little or no protection against infection. It is worrying that the minister is so ignorant of the facts.

I do wonder if, during his visit, he took note of another serious health risk, namely the extremely hazardous levels of air pollution caused by illegal and uncontrolled burning, not only in the North but in other parts of the country too. I also wonder if he, or anyone else in government is going to do anything about it. The authorities are -- on what appear to be dubious legal grounds, according to many experts -- throwing the book with astonishing vigour and determination at an upstart political party and its leaders who dare to question the status quo, yet they seem completely uninterested in widespread illegal activity which is blanketing vast areas of this beautiful country in a poisonous smog for weeks and months on end.

Robin Grant
Knowledge is power

Much to my amazement and delight, Thailand finally appears to be undergoing an information revolution. The truth is finally squeezing past the self- and government-censorship rules as modern social media sites help people discover what is truly happening in their world. The knowledge about land deals conducted by week-old companies based in obscure tax havens, the information forwarded by Australian sources about individuals who spent time in that country's prison system, and the secret work of military personnel to discredit activists and human rights workers, are being discovered because citizens are no longer restricted to government sources.

Even the old established media that once favoured the authoritarian military-style dictatorships are undergoing big changes with posts harshly critical of the corrupt and criminal activity taking place under the newly alert eyes of Thai reporters. Perhaps the days of singling out one activist who shared a post or one party that accepted a loan are no longer seen as right and proper. Laws are being called out as unjust and the days of public acceptance of a dual system that imprisoned the poor and released the rich are no longer being tolerated. We are yet to see where it will end and whether it will end nicely, but it looks like a new "war" is now under way.

Unmasking absurdity

Re: "Hand gel made simple", (BP, March 12).

I couldn't help but notice the irony of staff and students at Kasetsart University attending a demonstration class on how to make hand sanitiser to combat the spread of Covid-19. Scores of eager individuals crammed together in a room, directly contradicting the guidance of health experts, who warn that such gatherings provide one of the most common avenues for transmission of Covid-19. At the same time, nearly everyone in the photo can be seen wearing surgical masks -- a practice which health experts say is not effective in preventing transmission of the disease among the public.

The World Health Organisation, the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and most other health experts advise that surgical masks should only be worn by medical professionals and patients, to reduce the risk of infecting other people around them. Considering that most laypeople use surgical masks improperly, wearing them can actually be counterproductive and increase the risk of infection.

Samanea Saman
Profit trumps hygiene

The issue of Thailand not being able to produce enough face masks during a certified pandemic would be frightening and dangerous, if it were true! In two separate Bangkok Post articles, though, we are given conflicting information: Thailand can only produce 1.2 million masks per day. And Thailand is exporting 180 tonnes a month.

The reality is that Thailand has the capacity to meet the health requirements for the country during this time of need. The issue is not production deficiency, but rather blatant profiteering. There is no reason for any country to expose its citizens to physical harm when it can be alleviated.

As a farang in Thailand, I am constantly reminded that I am an outsider and not allowed full inclusion in this society, no matter what I do. Thainess then remains something something I cannot fully enjoy due to cultural prejudice and bias.

Darius Hober
No protection

The government keeps on blabbing about hand sanitisers, gel, alcohol and face masks. None of these goods has been available in any pharmacy, supermarket, or other outlet that used to sell these items in Prachin Buri for months. Who is fooling or lying to who?

Jack Gilead
Dangers of democracy

I am concerned that some young folks are joining anti-government activities. I fear that in doing so, they may be dreaming of Thailand becoming a Western-style democracy with its perceived "freedoms". Perhaps they do not realise that many of the past juntas were made necessary by the consistent failure of our version of democracy.

With their youthful enthusiasm, they may not wish to accept that many Thai politicians are driven by a desire to serve themselves instead of their country. Similarly, many Thai people will vote for candidates offering the fattest envelope, regardless of that person's honesty or integrity. And as recent history suggests, many Thai people suffer from "political patriotism" and are prepared to confront each other violently along party lines. These three factors engender and entrench levels of greed and corruption which are incompatible with any form of true democracy.

Until these attitudes and motives change, Thai democracy will continue to fail, and the people will get the government they deserve. The radicalisation of young people who are unwilling to accept this reality will make the future even more uncertain. Pursuing what they misguidedly feel is a worthy cause carries a risk. As in the case of Hong Kong, peaceful protests can easily slip into violence.

Neither Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha nor his ministers are perfect. Like any government, they have made mistakes, and we hope they have learned from them. Not a perfect record, therefore, but we have nonetheless enjoyed peace and security for almost seven years, and as long as this endures, we will likely prosper.

Dusit Thammaraks
THAI delusions

It amazes me that there are still people willing to take on the helm of that loss-making mess which is called Thai Airways. The only thing I can think of is that they must be suffering from delusions of grandeur to think they could have turned that around even before the coronavirus.

I guess it would be a waste of breath to say that this would be a very good time for it to declare bankruptcy and stop the haemorrhaging of taxpayers' money, but given that it seems to be one of those untouchable "sacred" institutions the military is so protective of, I won't bother.

Globalisation a virus

Re: "A world divided by policies but united by nature", (Opinion, March 11).

As head of the Asian Development Bank's evolution unit, the author of this article should recognise that, when it comes to climate change and global pandemics, the ADB has been a key promoter of economic development that emits greenhouse gasses and makes global and national economies more vulnerable to pandemics. So he should perhaps be more cautious about advocating for more of the same.

The polarisation of democracies (and when did ADB not do business with dictatorships and non-democratic governments?) is also largely the result of a backlash against the neoliberal globalist policies advocated by the ADB. He seems to regret that citizens may reject them when given the chance.

Now, nature, he says, does not recognise borders, race, gender and politics. However, human virus carriers can in fact be stopped by borders (and flights, ships and airports are not "nature").

Also, the author is right to say nature does not recognise gender: it recognises sexes. By using gender rather than sex, who exactly ignores nature?

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