Pheu Thai seeks 'drug war' revival
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Pheu Thai seeks 'drug war' revival

Party vow comes in wake of mass killings

The Pheu Thai Party has pledged to revive the "war on drugs" following the massacre at a child development centre in the northeastern province of Nong Bua Lam Phu.

While extending condolences to the families of the victims, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said narcotics undermine national development and the party will address any flaws in the previous anti-drugs policy before it is re-introduced.

Dr Cholnan made the announcement following the mass killing on Thursday that left 37 people, including many children, dead. The gunman, former Pol Sgt Panya Khamrab, was booted from the force on June 15 for possession of methamphetamine pills.

The "war on drugs" was an initiative by then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2003. It caused an uproar among rights activists after more than 2,500 suspects were allegedly killed during its implementation.

Dr Cholnan also criticised current government policy, saying while masses of drugs are being seized, preventive measures are lacking and the rehabilitation of drug users is not good enough. He said Thursday's tragedy also called for a need to review the country's gun possession laws and regulations surrounding law enforcement officers.

Further measures were needed to assess the mental health of those dismissed from their jobs, he added.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chantararuangtong said the party will file an urgent motion asking the House to convene a special sitting to discuss the country's drug problems.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai will unveil a policy platform tomorrow to help it secure a landslide win in the general election, said Prommin Lertsuriyadech, chief of the party's policy committee.

He said it will be introduced by key party figures, including leader Mr Cholnan and Paetongtarn Shinawatra, head of Pheu Thai's inclusion and innovation advisory committee.

Pheu Thai aims to win convincingly and the policy is one of three elements that will help attain this goal, he said. The other two are election candidates and prime ministerial candidates, Dr Prommin said. The party has begun selection and will nominate three candidates for prime minister, he said.

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