Armed forces back new govt
Armed forces leaders have thrown their full support behind the new government, saying the military is ready to serve as a tool to solve problems and respond to government policies.
Maj Gen Krit Chantharaniyom, spokesman of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, was speaking after a meeting of the military top brass. The Chief of the Defence Forces, Gen Pornpipat Benyasri, chaired the meeting attended by army commander-in-chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong, navy commander Adm Ruechai Ruddit, air force commander ACM Chaipruek Dissayasarin, and national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda.
It was the first meeting of the military and police top brass after the new government was sworn into office and the National Council for Peace and Order subsequently ceased to exist on Tuesday. The spokesman said the meeting agreed the armed forces will remain a tool for the government to tackle problems besetting the country.
The armed forces would also remain steadfast in their commitment to protect and defend the country's main institutions -- the nation, the religion, the monarchy -- as well as the public, Maj Gen Krit said. ''The armed forces are ready to respond to the government's policies which will be announced in parliament,'' Maj Gen Krit said.
In other news, a source at Government House said on Thursday the cabinet approved a raft of 12 urgent government policies at its first meeting on Tuesday, which will be implemented in its first year in office. Tackling poverty, ensuring public safety and boosting economic development are among the top priorities, while constitutional amendment is in 11th place on the list.
Easing the impacts of the looming drought affecting many provinces, as proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, is also urgent, the source said. The liberalisation of marijuana for medical treatment is also one of the 12 priorities, the source said, adding Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wanted all involved to come up with innovations in the use of cannabis.
Regarding a policy to raise the minimum daily wage to 400 baht, the source said the prime minister wanted the decision by the tripartite committee on labour, representing employers, employees and the government, to play a prominent role.
The 400-baht wage hike was one of the poll campaign promises made by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) ahead of the March 24 general election. Other coalition parties have similar policies on the wage hike.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Thursday said solving bread-and-butter issues that affect people's daily lives would take top priority among the 12 urgent issues.