Prayuth vows not to meddle with reforms, denies King's role in coup
published : 9 Aug 2014 at 13:59
writer: Online Reporters
Prayuth Chan-ocha has pledged the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will not interfere with national reform as the junta leader kicked off the process on Saturday.
Coup leader and army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during an event titled "The Roadmap for Thailand Reform" at the Royal Thai Army Club on Saturday. (Reuters photo)
Comprehensive reforms will be carried out by the National Reform Council (NRC) to be set up by Oct 2, according to Gen Prayuth.
"Many are watching the direction of the NRC and wondering whether it will work. That will be left to all Thais, not me or the NCPO,'' he told a forum at the Royal Thai Army Club to officially kick off the process.
Reforms are necessary to stamp out abuse of authority, which has had several consequences including violent confrontations, he said.
The process would be difficult and other countries might find it hard to understand but it must be done, he added.
"I've said that we have to look forward beyond ourselves. We have to look at what we can do for the people, society or those under us. I'm no better or smarter than you but that's what I think,'' he said
The NCPO set up the Centre for National Reconciliation and Reform shortly after the May 22 coup.
But the army chief said the centre would not dictate to the reform council as the centre's duty was only to gather information from all parties to prepare for the reform process.
The NRC comprises 250 members — 77 from each province and Bangkok and 173 from 11 fields to be reformed — picked by the military regime. The list will come from candidates in two categories, for which application processes will start on Thursday.
Gen Prayuth led the armed forces and the police to seize power in May after eight months of political unrest culminated in violence in the capital.
Securing law and order was the main goal of the junta immediately after the coup and reforms are part the second stage. An election is part of the third stage and is expected to take place late next year after a new constitution is in place.
The army chief also said on Saturday that he had made the decision by himself to lead soldiers onto the streets with no involvement from His Majesty the King.
''Don't ever drag His Majesty into this. His Majesty never issued an order. [I] pay respect to his image every day and ask for his pardon,'' he said.
Gen Prayuth said he expected a government would be formed later this month and a new election held in late 2015 after the reforms are completed.