Welfare state likely
Re: "Getting ready for a new economic era", (Opinion, June 1).
I agree with economist/columnist Chartchai Parasuk that the Move Forward Party, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, in its intention to immediately increase the minimum wage to 450 baht per day and the monthly payments of 3,000 baht to the elderly -- has declared itself to be an anti-growth regime.
I am another voter who refused to vote for the MFP for the simple reason that a party that has done a good job in the opposition cannot necessarily be good in the government -- especially when that party is still young and inexperienced. In the long run, our country will become a welfare state even before it can break out of the middle-income trap.
Lessons not learnt
Re: "Fair's fair in share game", (Editorial, June 1).
From Thaksin Shinawatra to Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit until Pita Limjaroenrat, all fell into the traps of holding assets that are legally untenable for elected politicians. In international practice, before entering politics, one should transfer assets to a juristic body called a "blind trust", which ensures the public that the politicians are barred from managing their assets, which may contradict the public interest. As per my knowledge, there are services available in Thailand, and some politicians utilise it. More information may be available from the office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Shot in the foot
Re: "Pita case could force new poll", (BP, June 1) and "Fair's fair in share game", (Editorial, June 1).
Whatever the final outcome of Pita Limjaroenrat's alleged shareholding, you have to question his political acumen in putting himself in this position. Everyone knows that those entrenched in power in Thailand will go to any and all lengths to hold on to it and to thwart and stymie "upstart" challengers.
Pita must have been aware of what happened to his predecessor, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, founder of the Future Forward Party, who lost his seat after the Constitutional Court disqualified him for owning media shares.
Why on earth did Pita not rid himself of the shares to avoid what blind Freddy could see would happen? He has effectively handed his enemies a loaded pistol and invited them to shoot him in the foot.
Re: "More graft than ever", and "The tide of history shifts in Thai politics", both BP, June 2, 2023.
I fully agree with this editorial that the current scandal involving kickbacks for overloaded trucks is just the tip of the iceberg. The Land Transport Federation of Thailand's complaints about this tea money have fallen on deaf ears -- as exemplified by Prayut hiding ex-graft buster Vicha Mahakun's report on reforming the Royal Thai Police and public prosecutor's office from us for almost three years now. We need and demand system-wide reform, not just moving generals to inactive posts until the publicity spotlight moves on. The time to strike is now -- while the iron is hot.
I laud the Pita-led government-in-waiting for establishing task forces, including one on corruption, so that it can jump-start its work upon taking office. We should: (a) Fight corruption starting with the RTP and public prosecutor's office, guided by the Prof Vicha panel findings. (b) Invite Khun Vicha to advise the anti-corruption task force. (c) Require task force reports on accomplishments -- not on its efforts, but what it has achieved -- every other month, and its long-term plan, with milestones. (d) Make the police and public prosecutors in each province directly accountable to the elected governor of that province -- not to Bangkok.
Just stick together
Re: "Pressure builds on Pheu Thai", (BP, May 29).
Emotionally, the pressure group of Pheu Thai called for withdrawal from being partnered with the Move Forward Party (MFP) to remind those youngsters that without Pheu Thai's support, they are sunk. However, mathematic-wise and vice versa, without MFP's support, Pheu Thai would also sink unless they would eat their words in not ever having to associate with the military-led parties (41+36) and forgive Newin Chidchob, the mentor of the Bhumjaithai Party with 71 MPs.
The MFP and Pheu Thai parties command 292 votes (151+141), a majority of the House of Representatives of 500. Both need each other to form a non-military-led government. Out of 500, there remain only 60 members (500 less 292, 77 and 71) to add on to either the commanded number of either major party to try to reach the majority of 251. With this obvious shortfall, neither party could form an ideal coalition. They both should not be so pompous in power-wrestling otherwise, a minority government could result in being led by the two military-led parties that may suit the wishes of many.
Sir, to those leaders of the two, be humble and try to accept the twist of life that you two have to be together, just like the 1958 drama film The Defiant Ones. It tells the story of two escaped prisoners, one white and one black, shackled together, fighting at the beginning and eventually forming a great bond, trust and friendship.
Be more realistic
Re: "Give MFP a chance", (PostBag, May 27).
I am just as desperate as those well-wishers of the MFP in seeking a clean and corruption-free government.
However, the MFP does not appear to be the appropriate party to carry out this mission. The latest development of the coalition government, with Mr Pita hastily declaring himself the next PM, could be just a mirage on the horizon.
Sondhi Limthongkhul, a renowned journalist, has provided an insight into the history of MFP as a vehicle to undermine the monarchy in one of his recent youtube clips, which is worth noting. All the cheerleaders for the MFP could take that as a reference.
The 450-baht wage hike promised by the MFP in the election campaign, which will be implemented within 100 days after the party takes office, is a time bomb that could push many companies, big or small, out of business.
The young supporters of the MFP are ardent and enthusiastic, but that does not mean they are riding the right vehicle heading in the right direction. On the other hand, an octogenarian may give good advice, too, as long as he is not an artist who can only paint a nice blue sky out of imagination.
Re: "Big parties reject idea of forming national coalition: Senator told talks should continue", (BP, June 2).
According to PM's Office Minister Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is a gentleman who always insisted that from now on, everything will have to be done in a democratic way. May one, therefore, wonder, interpret and assume this being an admission that everything before that was ungentlemanly done in an undemocratic way?
S de Jong
Re: "Wissanu: Comprehensive complaint may result in annulled election", (BP, May 31).
I would like to open this letter by stating that I deeply respect Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam. I also would like to say that -- were I a Thai citizen -- I probably would have voted for anyone other than a youthful, 42-year-old, rather "leftist", Harvard-educated elite, and that I generally favour Thailand's conservative parties/their policies.
I think it needs to be shown to the deputy PM that this event, along with Thailand's very poorly executed cannabis legalisation -- which now is causing a predictable medical crisis which frequently involves cannabis purchasers of many nationalities who are returning to non-cannabis nations and states "high", with generally no medical need or medical documentation -- is making Thailand look very poor internationally.
To conclude: I'll leave it to the Thai courts to work out the "comprehensive complaint". But, from 9,000 miles away, it simply looks to onlookers like the establishment in Thailand just suffered a "2016-style", unexpected defeat. Khun Pita looks to foreign onlookers to have won "fair & square". We also see that the nation has a mounting cannabis crisis which he did not create, and it looks like rather than accept the results of an unexpected shellacking at the polls, now the losers simply won't accept the results and have opted for what we call "Kindergarten Democracy" -- just throw out the votes and recount until you get what you want.
"Mr Wissanu, with all due respect, in life, it is possible to commit no mistakes and, still, sometimes you lose."
Jason A Jellison
Some bridge project
Re: "BTSC says it's ready to invest in 'missing link'", (BP, June 2) & "Get the work done", (PostBag, Nov 14, 2022).
Hello again. It has been six months since I wrote a complaint about the unfinished bridge project near Soi Udomsuk 60 in the Sukhumvit area. This project needed five years to be developed, but then the bridge collapsed early last year. We are going on seven years, if not more. There are only about 2 metres separating the two sides. For some reason, energy, manpower, building supplies, and lots of money are being spent to erect what looks like a private house adjacent to the construction site, but I could be wrong about its intention. God knows this construction project has made the adjacent property nearly worthless. Otherwise, this bridge has gone nowhere since I last wrote in November 2022. The MRT Yellow Line, which started years after the bridge project, is nearly completed and will open soon, undoubtedly before this contractor can manage to get anything completed competently. The one remaining side of the bridge is already buckling. If this were any other city, this project would have been completed in weeks.
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