PM tells media to stop criticising new cabinet line-up

PM tells media to stop criticising new cabinet line-up

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on the media to refrain from speculating over and criticising the new cabinet line-up which is close to being announced.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday that Gen Prayut was following up on media reports and analyses about the imminent cabinet shake-up.

Even though the prime minister understands that media outlets are only trying to do their job of ensuring the public's right to know, he still thought such articles and opinions published about the upcoming cabinet reshuffle were based mainly on speculation and would not do any side any good, said Lt Gen Sansern.

Still, wild speculation in media reports and opinion pieces about the reshuffle could make some cabinet ministers feel discouraged and damage the overall image of the government, he said.

At this point, Lt Gen Sansern said, all he could say was that Gen Prayut certainly based his decisions as to who should be cabinet ministers mainly on their qualifications and suitability, given the current situation of the government.

Both the media and members of the public had better wait for the official announcement of the new cabinet line-up after it is endorsed, said Lt Gen Sansern, adding that the government promised the new cabinet will speed up their work as soon as they formally take office as they are well aware of the responsibility of resolving the country's many problems.

Among the views reflected in recent media reports and analyses is criticism that the new cabinet reshuffle would be rife with cronyism as Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon and Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda would undoubtedly survive the reshuffle despite being at the centre of criticism over poor work performance and their roles in controversial procurement projects.

The former ruling Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile, came out to criticise the government for simply treating this cabinet reshuffle as an opportunity to pass on the rewards of cabinet portfolios from one to another.

Acting Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said his party does not hold high hopes for the new cabinet line-up and suspects the reshuffle is only intended to resolve internal conflicts within the government.

Neither does Pheu Thai feel any confidence that the cabinet reshuffle would lead to an improvement in the government's performance, said Mr Anusorn, who described the reshuffle as a process in which cabinet portfolios are being treated as assets which can be passed on from one government member to another.

No improvement in the economic situation nor in the situation of public rights and freedom of expression could be expected after this cabinet reshuffle, he said, adding that those who dare to criticise the military regime will still face a session of so-called attitude correction as several people have done since the regime took power in May 2014.

Mr Anusorn said Pheu Thai was taking this opportunity to call on the government to pay more attention to the importance of ensuring freedom of expression and media freedom as well as to urge the regime to stop summoning critics to sessions of attitude correction.

Whatever the military regime may call its response to its critics, it is basically a form of intimidation, he said.

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