Thaksin hits back at regime

Thaksin hits back at regime

Ousted PM says he is victim of mudslinging

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has come out to strongly criticise the military government for unfairly accusing him of being behind a recent string of "bad incidents".

He called on the regime not to use him as a tool to stay in power.

It is first time in two years that Thaksin has publicly come out to attack the military regime.

Thaksin wrote on Facebook on Friday that he had planned to stop giving his opinions on events in Thailand or acting in a way that could be seen to obstruct the work of the military government, so as to give the military the space to govern.

However, he felt he had to step up and speak again because efforts are under way to implicate him in activities against the country's government, which he said is unacceptable.

"Whenever any bad incidents happen in the country, the government resorts to mudslinging and tries to lead people to understand that I am behind those incidents, or implicate me in terrible incidents, such as the Ratchaprasong bombing or the major bomb attacks in the South," Thaksin said.

"Apart from myself, my family has fallen victim to persecution and mudslinging. The latest is the tax dispute regarding the Shin Corp share sale," he added.

He said that if he had indeed committed wrongdoing as alleged, he did not understand why previous governments had not taken action against him.

"They would not have sat on it until the case was due to expire and have used the 'magic of the law' to deal with me like now," Thaksin said.

Observers said Thaksin has hit back at the regime amid mounting pressure on him and his allies.

Besides trying to claw back money from the Shin Corp sale, he has been linked to the recent seizure of a cache of weapons found in Pathum Thani which authorities say was part of red-shirt leader Wuthipong Kochathamakun's network.

Wuthipong, alias Kotee, faces lese majeste charges and has fled to Laos.

Thaksin via his lawyers recently filed a police complaint about web-based T-News agency and its anchors for linking him with Mr Wuthipong. The complaint concerns defamation and violation of the Computer Crime Act.

He wrote yesterday that he has been loyal to the monarchy and firmly believes in a democratic regime of government with the King as head of state.

"I had to leave Thailand, which I dearly love, almost 11 years ago. I had to leave the home in which I lived, and my beloved family. And now, I have been slandered and harassed by groups of hostile people set up to investigate without applying the rule of law," Thaksin wrote.

"I am willing to shoulder all the pain and loneliness. I only wish that reconciliation is restored and the country can move forward, and people's sufferings are eased. Then, I'll be glad and happy," he added.

Regarding the government's ongoing efforts to foster national reconciliation, Thaksin said he was willing to be "cut out of the equation" and that he did not want anyone to offer to help him.

He said the regime "must not encourage conflict-mongering as an excuse to stay on in power".

"I have already stopped. What about you? When will you stop? Don't express your love for the country and the [royal] institution only in words," Thaksin wrote.

Thaksin, toppled in a bloodless coup in 2006, is living in self-exile after fleeing a two-year jail term handed down in October 2008 by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd responded to Thaksin yesterday, saying that he did not known why Thaksin had come out to attack the government this time. However, he said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has a clear policy to restore unity and reconciliation in the country.

"The government has been looking forward and will not be stuck looking at the conflicts of the past. We will focus on how we can live together in the future and what we should do or not do. As a result, it is nothing to do with Thaksin," said Maj Gen Sansern.

The spokesman said the prime minister exercising Section 44 is only for facilitating justice including getting the tax Thaksin is said to owe. It is not "chasing" and everything will be judged in court. "This is the clear stance of the government," he said.

Meanwhile, Yuttana Yimgarund, who heads a Finance Ministry fact-finding panel on taxing Thaksin, said the panel is looking into whether any state officials committed wrongdoing in failing to collect tax from Thaksin over the Shin Corp share deal.

He said the panel is tracing information regarding the Shin Corp share sale deal from 2006 to when the Revenue Department did not appeal in the tax case. He said the inquiry is based on the Revenue Code and the panel is expected to wrap up its inquiry in May before submitting the findings to the Finance Ministry for consideration.

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