PM says he won't take more jibes

PM says he won't take more jibes

Prayut plans 'training course' for repeat offenders

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he will escalate the
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he will escalate the "attitude adjustment sessions" for mouthy politicians to re-education "training courses". (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

In the wake of a new round of politician detentions for "attitude adjustment", Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has declared he will not tolerate politicians who have repeatedly defied the government.

He made the comment as two key Pheu Thai Party figures were "invited" in for attitude adjustment following criticism of the military regime.

A US human rights envoy called on the government to respect freedom of expression.

Gen Prayut said Monday the military regime will hold "a training course" for those who have been summoned for attitude adjustment several times but still failed to cooperate.

The prime minister stressed the need to be firm with politicians who continue to criticise the military regime despite several warnings.

"Training sessions" will be held to provide them with proper knowledge to correct their attitude while those who commit any legal offences will be handled according to legal procedures, Gen Prayut said.

"From now on, those who are summoned must attend a training session to improve their understanding. They will also be asked about what they did in the past -- right or wrong -- and what they plan to do if they form a government," Gen Prayut said.

He said the government wants to ask them if they understand what the military regime is doing and if they cannot think for themselves, they should no longer be politicians.

"They may not listen, but the government still has to explain these things to them and cannot let them criticise it. Personally, I cannot accept the fact that they still keep criticising," Gen Prayut added.

The premier on Monday met Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights Sarah Sewall, who was on a four-day visit to Thailand that ended after her Government House courtesy call.

After the visit, Ms Sewall issued a statement to reiterate the US commitment to partnering with the Thai government in combatting the challenge of human trafficking and urged the administration to continue providing protection to refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable persons seeking safe haven.

However, in a part of the statement, Ms Sewall urged the Thai government to restore democratic governance and stressed the importance of ensuring full respect for freedom of expression and other human rights and fundamental freedoms in order to secure stable and sustainable governance and institutions.

Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan, and Watana Muangsook, a core member of the Pheu Thai Party and former social development and human security minister in the Thaksin Shinawatra government, were detained for "attitude adjustment" on Saturday and Monday respectively.

Mr Worachai was taken from his home in Samut Prakan province to the 11th Army Circle after writing on his Facebook page that Gen Prayut should resign if the new draft charter fails to pass a public referendum.

On his Facebook page, Mr Watana posted a comment strongly criticising the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) over the detention of Mr Worachai.

Four truckloads of soldiers arrived at his home about 5.30pm on Sunday but he was not there. Mr Watana posted on his Facebook page the following day he spent the night at a friend's house and he would report in to the military Monday.

He arrived at the army circle as promised accompanied by several leading Pheu Thai figures, including former finance minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Vejjayachai.

Before being escorted inside the military base, Mr Watana told reporters he did not know how long he would be detained and insisted he made the comments with good intentions and that he did not break the law. He added the government's reforms will go nowhere if the government fails to listen to differing opinions.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said he would ask the NCPO to arrange a course, which may last three, five or seven days, to educate politicians who refuse to cooperate after having been invited for attitude adjustment.

"They [the two politicians] know what they have said. The NCPO has asked for their cooperation as it needs time to concentrate on its work," he said.

Sarah Sewall, the US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayut as she wound up a four-day official visit with a call on the government to respect freedom of expression. (Photo courtesy of Government House)

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