PM urges against rights 'obsession'

PM urges against rights 'obsession'

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday called on the general public not to be obsessed with democracy, rights and liberties, saying a preoccupation with this could lead to anarchy.

He said the people should take into consideration other principles, especially existing laws, to find proper logic.

"If they are carried away with thoughts about rights, liberties and democracy in every issue, it will lead to anarchy," he said.

According to the prime minister, it was important for the government to find a way to achieve its goals of reforms and national unity. He noted the government cannot be swayed by the public's feelings.

Gen Prayut said the conflict stemmed from several causes, including social and economic disparity and an education system that failed to instill a proper way of thinking.

He said he asked the Committee for National Administration under the Framework of National Reform, Strategy and Reconciliation to think logically, otherwise it could not function properly.

The prime minister also allayed concerns about a large number of people appointed as advisers to the committee and stressed the panel was not intended to whitewash anyone.

"It is a stage for discussions. We will listen but we won't let them talk about past problems because that can't be put to rest. We must focus on what we can do now," he said.

He also expressed confidence in Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who chairs the committee on national reconciliation, that he could get the job done.

However, he noted that national unity would not be built in three months.

When asked about private sector representatives on the Committee for National Administration under the Framework of National Reform, Strategy and Reconciliation, he said the sector had expressed willingness to join the government's reform and reconciliation efforts from the start.

He said some of the committee members already serve as cabinet advisers and his purpose is to make sure that the government's push for reforms and national unity is inclusive.

Gen Prayut also said there is no need for those involved to sign a unity pact because the agreement can be broken.

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, vice chairman of the National Reform Steering Assembly and a member of the Prawit panel, said he hopes that representatives from political parties will take the opportunity to give their input.

He said no debate will be allowed in the hearings to gather opinions, which will take about three months.

Meanwhile, the Chartthaipattana Party said it is ready to discuss reconciliation issues with the committee but is waiting for a formal invitation.

The committee will begin discussions on national reconciliation with politicians on Tuesday and it has come up with a set of 10 topics for politicians to contribute ideas regarding how national unity can be achieved.

Prof Phasuk Pongpaijit, who was reportedly named as a member of a sub-committee gathering public opinions, said yesterday she was never approached for the job.

She said she would have declined to join if she had been asked.

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