Democrats back attack on reforms

Democrats back attack on reforms

Thirayuth touches a raw nerve

The Democrat Party has backed Thirayuth Boonmi's attack on reform efforts, saying the social critic pinpointed the problems and highlighted the failure of the government's approach to them.

Democrat deputy leader Ong-art Klampaiboon said the government needed to listen to Mr Thirayuth, no matter how harsh his opinions might be.

Mr Ong-art said yesterday he believed Mr Thirayuth's only intention was to reflect on the country's problems. If the government considered his opinions carefully, it would find useful ways to improve its work.

"The government should see Mr Thirayuth's comments as a mirror of the problems facing the country. Regarding reform issues, the people so far have not experienced any tangible outcomes," Mr Ong-art said.

Despite three years in power, the government has only just started its bid for national reconciliation, Mr Ong-art said.

The people will have to wait to see how the government and its reconciliation committee will translate opinions into action plans, he said.

Speaking on Friday at an annual political analysis critique of the government held at the Election Commission, Mr Thirayuth said the government had been focusing on putting Thailand's house in order but had failed to address the fundamental causes of the problems.

Structural problems had remained dormant in the meantime and would re-emerge once the military steps down from power, Mr Thirayuth said.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd yesterday rejected Mr Thirayuth's criticism, saying he should offer practical solutions to the problems rather than preach about theories and principles.

"The prime minister has emphasised that every opinion is crucial to reform. That's why the government has set up channels to gather views and include them in the reform plan," he said.

"However, the most useful opinions are those which offer practical approaches, not ones that present only principles or theories."

Lt Gen Sansern said the government had stepped in to resolve a crisis and help the country to pull through and move forward.

It was not easy to achieve its desired results in such a short period because many of the country's problems had been left unresolved for a long time.

Since taking power, the government had tried as hard as it could to tackle old problems while finding ways to prevent new ones, he said.

The government has also devised a national development strategy aimed at strengthening security, boosting competitiveness, developing human resources, curbing social disparity, protecting the environment and improving the state sector, he said.

Lt Gen Sansern urged the public, scholars and the media to study the details of the government's reform measures to get a better understanding of the time frame for reforms, the laws necessary and the agencies involved.

He said the government was ready to tackle any pressing problems straight away, such as corruption. Pushing for reform needs continuity of action and determination before the effort pays off, he added.

"Thailand has lost opportunities due to all talk and no action. It would be best if everyone comes together to pool ideas and gets down to work," Lt Gen Sansern said.

National Reform Steering Assembly deputy chairman Alongkorn Ponlaboot said Mr Thirayuth had only looked at the political issue, which is among many reforms being pursued by the NRSA.

The reforms also cover measures to stamp out corruption and clean up the economic, legal, judicial, education and public health sectors. There also needed to be reform of the country's infrastructure, Mr Alongkorn said, adding the NRSA had made considerable progress in pushing ahead more than 100 reform measures.

He said the NRSA will provide Mr Thirayuth with a report on reform progress next week so that he can have a better grasp of what it is doing.

NRSA chairman Thinapan Nakata said the government was making serious efforts to remove bureaucratic red tape that was hindering progress.

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