Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted in his weekly address Friday night that he would constructively exercise his ultimate power under Section 44 of the interim constitution to speed up national development and not to violate rights.
Regarding the exercise of Section 44 that he announced on Wednesday after the revocation of the martial law, Gen Prayut said that Section 44 had already existed as part of the interim constitution presently in effect and his announcement was only meant for clarification.
"With regards to Section 44, this has already been in place since the promulgation of the interim constitution. So with the revocation of martial law, it was necessary to clearly stipulate the powers," the prime minister said.
Section 44 authorises him as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to take any actions to promote reform and unity and tackle threats to order and the security of the nation, the monarchy and the national economy and his actions will be considered as legal, constitutional and final.
Gen Prayut explained that after the martial law could stop violent incidents in five to six months before his coup last May, it was now time for Section 44 to overcome obstacles to national progress.
"The meaning here is that this section allows government work to progress when it would normally be obstructed by other legalities. This is what I mean by 'constructive'. I would like people to understand this issue and no longer engage in conflicts over it," the prime minister said.
He said that he would exercise Section 44 to tackle corruption and ensure transparency in government projects. Besides, he is using it to quickly improve air transport authorities and their equipment so that their air transport certification meets international standards and thus the business of Thai-registered airlines is protected.
Section 44 would also be exercised to accelerate the allocation of land for the poor to make their livings, Gen Prayut said.
"I will adjust and develop the use of my powers in the correct and best possible way. I can assure you that the government puts national interest before its own," the general said.