Prayut launches 'new normal'

Prayut launches 'new normal'

Pep talk to nation as Covid-19 crisis eases

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday addresses in nationwide broadcast, announcing New Normal ways of working for himself and the government in the post Covid-19 era. (TV Pool photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday addresses in nationwide broadcast, announcing New Normal ways of working for himself and the government in the post Covid-19 era. (TV Pool photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has launched the government's "new normal" initiative by inviting people from all sectors of society to map out Thailand's future after the Covid-19 crisis.

The prime minister on Wednesday addressed the nation on the government's plan for the country in the post Covid-19 era. He announced three "new normal" ways of working for himself and the government by harnessing the knowledge of sectors in society.

"I would like to kick off today with a national mission to plan a great Thailand together under a nation-building programme I have called 'Thais Together Build Thailand'. And I would like to invite every citizen to resolve to do their part and be ready to contribute to that plan," he said.

He pointed out two things about Thailand that gives him hope that the country will be able to progress quickly. The two things are unity among Thais and the fact the country has many great people.

"During these difficult days I have seen people with hardly enough to eat, sharing their food with others on the street, and others who risk their own lives so that others may stay healthy," he said.

"The other most amazing thing that the Covid-19 crisis has shown me is how many great people there are out there, at every level, with great ideas, great capabilities, great energy, and an unbounded willingness to work for their country."

Gen Prayut declared the government's management of the Covid-19 public health crisis a success and detailed what the three new normal ways of working are.

The first new normal is greater direct involvement of all sectors in the government's planning to build a greater Thailand. Representatives of all sectors will be invited to present their recommendations to accelerate Thailand's progress. "In the weeks ahead, I will be asking various sectors to conceive and propose a plan on how they can contribute to helping Thailand make giant strides forward. I will ask to hear their vision for their sector and transformative ideas that can change their sector and improve people's lives and incomes."

The second new normal rethinks evaluation of the government's work. The PM said the government will make it easier for stakeholders to offer feedback to the highest levels of government on their evaluation of the efficacy of government projects and any need for adjustment or improvement.

The third new normal introduces proactive working. Gen Prayut pledged to work more proactively and take a very close interest in a select number of ministry projects that he believes are of the utmost priority for citizens. He will champion them for quick and effective implementation.

Gen Prayut also expressed his strong belief Thailand will emerge from the Covid-19 ordeal as "a new nation that is stronger and more respected". He stressed the country must now lay down the fundamentals for sustainable prosperity.

As these new ways of working are unprecedented in Thailand, the prime minister said he expected opposition and criticism and discouraged political distractions which prevent the country from striding forward towards prosperity.

"There may, of course, be some critical voices along the way. But I will reach out to those people, too. I will hear them, and I will ask them for their ideas for improvement," he said. "It is a time of change. And it is a time of great opportunity to improve our country and our lives."

Meanwhile, travel bubbles for general tourism are not expected to happen soon, and the first people to benefit are likely to be working professionals and people attending international meetings, senior officials reiterated on Wednesday.

Gen Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council and head of the government's committee on disease control relaxation, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration had not yet made a decision on travel bubbles. Gen Prayut said doctors and security officials were concerned about the possible implications and emphasised public health over tourism.

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