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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Deconstructing Thepchai Yong: More Hypocrisy Concerning Party Dissolution Judgment

Judges must make no compromises on 'Judgement Day'

Thepchai Yong

The Nation


His Majesty the King's televised remarks to judges of the Supreme Administrative Court last week essentially drove home the political fragility that the country faces.


A political fragility that has been self-inflicted.

Not since the verdict was pending in the assets concealment case against then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has the country been in such a state of political suspense.


How convenient that he pretends that a coup never happened.


It shouldn't come as any surprise if some overly concerned families are beginning to stock up on food or if panicky investors are offloading shares in their portfolios ahead of the so-called "Judgement Day" tomorrow. For these people, signs of trouble are too obvious to ignore.


This is unjustified hysteria that the lazy Thai media loves to cook up.

Despite all the assurances from the government and the military to the contrary, the spectre of street violence hanging over the ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal on the fate of the Thai Rak Thai and Democrat parties cannot be underestimated. Intelligence reports have all pointed to the possibility of coordinated agitation by Thaksin's supporters, who want nothing short of a total vindication for the former prime minister and his party.


What evidence is there for this? The Nation hasn't done any investigative reports demonstrating that there is coordinated effort by Thaksin supporters to cause violence on the day of the verdict. What would violence accomplish anyway? It won't change the verdict. The threat of violence won't change the verdict.

Thaksin may be in exile thousands of miles away, but there is no denying what the political machine he left behind is capable of doing at the snap of his fingers. Thaksin definitely has not been funnelling in huge amounts of money to remnants of his Thai Rak Thai Party and its grassroots network for charitable purposes. The former leader has too much at stake both in terms of his wealth and his political survival to watch events unfold from afar without trying to interfere.


Since last September, Thaksin could have done a lot of behind the scenes damage, and he didn't, so why start now?


The Nation has not done one investigative report linking Thaksin to any political agitator groups since the coup.


All The Nation does is speculate. Seriously, The Nation has no right to call itself a newspaper, because it really is in the speculation and conspiracy theory business. Frighteningly enough, The Nation doesn't even bother to gather any evidence in defense of it speculations and conspiracies.


These editors/columnists are incompetent and poorly trained. And they are doing a disservice to Thailand's political development because of it.

Thaksin made it clear in his recent interview with a community radio station with avowed loyalty to the former prime minister that he was not going to give up without a fight.


When did Thaksin say he was going to fight? Did I miss something?


Of course, despite all the bitter feelings he generated under his five-year authoritarian rule, the businessman-turned-politician had no regrets to offer. It's no surprise then that he chooses to see all the charges of abuse of power and conflicts of interest made against him and his family as nothing more than political retribution. And he has fervently urged his supporters back home to see it that way too.


Any idiot with half a brain cell firing off in his head knows that the current charges against Thaksin have been cooked up only to justify that Thaksin is a criminal after the fact. Thepchai is a liar. He knows very well that this is about the criminalization of politics.


If these investigations were only about Thaksin's crimes, why is the AEC being led by Thaksin's sworn enemies? Why weren't professional prosecutors with no political axes to grind allowed to investigate all the dirty dealings during Thaksin's tenure? And why have the investigations only singled out Thaksin, as if he was the one and only person who was in charge and running the country during the last six years? How come the AEC isn't investigating the "unusual wealth" of all the cabinet ministers and Thai Rak Thai politicians since 2001?

While the potential of political backlash shouldn't in any way influence the verdict of the nine judges on the Constitution Tribunal, His Majesty has, nevertheless, reminded the panel to be mindful of its consequences. There is a general consensus that whatever ruling is handed down by the Constitution Tribunal, it will have a far-reaching impact on this country's political future.


If nothing happens except the parties getting a slap on the wrist, how will that impact on the country's future?


The worst-case scenario is that both the Democrat and Thai Rak Thai parties are dissolved and all party executives banned from politics for five years in accordance with Decree No 27 introduced by the Council for National Security (CNS) in the aftermath of the September 19 coup. Not only would the whole lot of political veterans who were instrumental in shaping Thailand's politics for the past several years be denied any political role, but it would also set the stage for potential street violence.


Again, where is the evidence for this? If there was no street violence over the coup, why would anyone risk their lives for the Democrats or Thai Rak Thai? I mean, to me, the notion is really idiotic. Seriously, are there Thais out there who would hurt other Thais in the name of defending Chaturon and Abhisit?

It's an open secret that some generals in the CNS are praying for exactly that to happen. In one stroke, they would be able to get rid of Thaksin and his Thai Rak Thai Party once and for all and at the same time assure the military a dominant role in the subsequent political realignment. In other words, political fragmentation would allow the military to hold sway over future politics.


The Nation really sucks. It is horrible. If Thepchai knows that there are generals who want to see Thais killed in the cause of their own political expediency, then he should expose them. Any general who wants to see Thais dead is a disgrace to his profession. A soldier's duty is to defend the lives of Thai people, not sacrifice them for their own political gain.


If this so-called "open secret" is nothing but a figment of Thepchai's imagination, then he should be ashamed of himself.


In any event, Thepchai should be publishing the facts if they are true instead of speaking in cryptic terms.

There have been talks lately about a possible compromise whereby selective punishment would be meted out to the leaders of the two parties. Only those directly implicated would be targeted. While a handful of party executives (most likely the party's leaders, secretaries-general and a few others) would be banned from politics, those who survive could immediately found and register new parties for the promised election.


Actually, this doesn't look like a compromise. It looks like a reasonable punishment. Why should everybody in the party suffer because the top executives were corrupt?

Though this proposed compromise would be less painful and shocking than a wholesale purge of the two parties, there is no guarantee that it would end the ongoing agitation efforts by Thaksin supporters.


In other words, Thepchai is saying that Thai Rak Thai should be singled out for punishment because anybody who is related to Thaksin in any way, shape or form should have their political rights stripped away from them.


There is also a big question mark as to whether the Constitution Tribunal can be selective in its judgement and whether its ruling should be influenced by political considerations.


Despite all the threats of violence and the unpalatable political consequences, there is the rule of law that needs to be upheld. His Majesty's caution that whatever the ruling there would be damaging fallout shouldn't in any way be interpreted as a hint toward compromise. His emphasis on "correctness" should also not be lost on anyone.


Thepchai doesn't care about the "rule of law." He has demonstrated his concern for the law when he backed and benefited from an illegal coup.

More often than not, Thailand has seen the rule of law bent to accommodate political expediency.

Thepchai backed an illegal coup to accommodate his own political and professional expediency.


We have tended to tackle problems or deal with crises the "Thai way" and have lost the opportunity to set legal or political benchmarks that would help us become better prepared for new challenges.


I am tired of Thais justifying the horrible outcomes in Thai politics as if there was a racial component to it. There is no such thing as a "Thai way." Just because some Thai politicians are corrupt doesn't mean all Thais are corrupt. Just because some Thais take the easy way out doesn't mean all Thais take the easy way out. There are many good Thai people out there who are incorruptible and would never think of ripping off the country or breaking the law.


Unfortunately, many of the big shots in our country think they can do whatever they want. They don't care about the law. These people are the ones poisoning our country.


What drives me nuts about these hypocrites at The Nation is that they think the law should be selectively applied to Thaksin and to its political enemies. The Nation certainly doesn't believe the law should be applied to the generals, its political patrons.


The nine judges of the Constitution Tribunal have Thailand's political future in their hands. And this definitely is no time for political expediency or compromise. Whatever their verdict is, it must be based on facts. At this very crucial political junction, we have no other choice but to the let the rule of law prevail.


What the f does Thepchai know about the facts? Thepchai hasn't written one fact in this entire column.

Further, what evidence has The Nation published that supports and defends the positions of Thai Rak Thai and the Democrat Party?

In other words, The Nation hasn't done one investigative report concerning the party dissolution case.

14 comments:

svl said...

Just to rebut Fonzi's claim that Thaksin still possessed 'legitimacy' up to the time he was deposed by the junta, I am reproducing a poster from Democratic Thai Citizen (posted at Nation forum sometime in May-2006 while Thaksin still possessed all his omnipotent Khmer voodoo powers to ward of his enemies).

--------------------
QUESTIONS FOR ALL THAIS! 25/05/06 06:22

Thailand is our country. We are Thais. We have a constitution. We are a land or law and order. We are democratic. We respect His Majesty the King.

Given these facts, let us objectively critique the behavior of PM Thaksin – to determine whether he played fairly, and followed the rules of the constitution.

PM Thaksin was charged with a major unlawful business transaction, which has strong repercussion for national interest. However, given the trial never took place, the legality of the business ordeal remains a speculation. Nonetheless, rather than respond to the charges which he needs to as the PM of Thailand and on a matter of national interest, he dissolved the House. This action, under Thai constitution, automatically confers upon PM Thaksin absolute right as the chief authority of Thailand, unhindered by any opposing parties. PM Thaksin could, with the House dissolved, exercise military rule if it is in the interest of the national security. The non-functional government also immediately absolves PM Thaksin from investigations into his private business transactions. Under the constitution, with the House dissolve and Thailand without a functional government, the PM must remain in office and possesses complete power to do as he wishes. Importantly, with the House dissolved and Thailand without a functional government, the PM does not need to concern himself with defending his personal dealings – as long as he can purport his action as in the interest of the nation.

Under the constitution, such action to dissolve the House is NOT lawful. The charges of the PAD were not against the House as a whole. If it were, and the charges were true, that would warrant dissolving of the House for a new government. However, the charges were against the PM primarily, and his party secondarily. Thus, here is a question for all Thais: Can anybody give just ONE intelligent (lawful) reason why PM Thaksin needs to dissolve the House, other than to divert attention to matters other than what he was being charged with – and to obtain absolute power to execute military action (if need be) against all who oppose him if he can declare such action as in the interest of the nation? It is known that the PM approached the chief commander of the Thai military. Fortunately, the military commander refused to exercise military force, given the demonstrations in Bangkok were non-violent.

Subsequently, PM Thaksin called for a snap election, which we now know was unlawful. Everybody knows the majority of the Thai masses were for him. The snap election would certainly put him back in office soon enough. Importantly, with the new House formed, it would be close to impossible to let the courts issue orders for investigations into his potential illegal business transactions. With the new House formed, his potential unlawful actions under the former dissolved government would be irrelevant. PM Thaksin would not only be stronger than before. The whole process would also appear democratic in that the new government was formed by the people, for the people, and of the people. Importantly, by law under the new House, PM Thaksin could be free from prior charges and pending investigations.

PM Thaksin won the election, which is really of no surprise to any intelligent mind. That the voting process was improperly conducted was common knowledge. Right when the fate of Thailand hung on a balance, His Majesty the King intervened. The Supreme Court was chastised, together with the EC Commission. His Majesty the King urged the Supreme Court and the EC Commission properly perform their duties. Subsequently, the Supreme Court demanded proper actions from the EC Commission, and the EC Commission declared the election unconstitutional. Thus, here is a question for all Thais: Had His Majesty the King not intervened, would Thailand have survived such travesties of law and order purported as a democratic process?

If PM Thaksin had his way, most educated people agree Thailand would be like Singapore. Of course, the economy would be good. Thailand, like Singapore, could become a major center of Asia. There could be exceptional financial prosperity, particularly for the upper class citizens and beyond. There could be foreign investments into Thailand of unprecedented scale. Those who support PM Thaksin would proclaim unendingly and aloud of how they have been right in supporting PM Thaksin from the beginning, and how the PAD have been wrong all along. The proclamation would resoundingly be: Economy is up; economy is good; economy is best – under PM Thaksin. Their point would certainly be valid.

However, here is the downside which should strongly strike fear into the hearts of all Thais who appreciate true democracy and freedom. The government of Thailand would also be Singapore. That means, the leaders cannot be spoken evil of, or questioned. The press can be censored, so the masses hear only what the government approves. Minds could be controlled from lack of free flow of information. The freedom of speech regarding wrong doings of the country's leaders could be curbed. There could be a "Big Brother" who possesses absolute power to dictate the conscience of Thai citizens. Thus, here is a question for all Thais: If you wanted to be a "dictator" of Thailand while still making the world believe Thailand is an economically strong, fully democratic country, would you have done anything different from everything that PM Thaksin has done all this time?

(From Democratic Thai Citizen)

Kahve said...

"Thailand's politics for the past several years be denied any political role, but it would also set the stage for potential street violence.

It's an open secret that some generals in the CNS are praying for exactly that to happen."

Now, this isn't such an unusual "allegation" to bring out, if you think about it. As you yourself blogged about the one interview where Sondhi Limthongkul revealed that indeed army, or so he supposed by the mysterious contacts he got or how was it, was hoping for any kind of violence during last years protests, as that would have given sort of "free pass" to bring up the guns and flex their muscles during that time. So, in same way, who says that this couldn't be what some boys in brass would hope for again, street protests tomorrow, a reason to keep their power, "you need us to quell the demonstrators"? Just a thought...

Oh and picking up from svl's quote (nice piece btw) another snip:
"It is known that the PM approached the chief commander of the Thai military. Fortunately, the military commander refused to exercise military force, given the demonstrations in Bangkok were non-violent."

Thai politics really is dirty one...Here we have snipped saying that military in general was (as it should be) reluctant/opposing to intervene with force against peaceful protests but at same time "leader" of those protests was getting calls to "organize" that violence! And this was NOT violence in favor of Thaksin like this quote was hinting of what Thaksin tried to accomplish, but instead to make coup against Thaksin! Makes me dizzy :)

Matty said...

According to reports, today General Sonthi had taken over from General Saprang the command of all security/police/military forces in the Bangkok area in preparation for the Constitutional Tribunal ruling expected tomorrow about the political parties' dissolution.

That should come as a relief. General Sonthi is the same General who refused Thaksin's orders to forcefully stop the Bangkok anti-Thaksin protests (see SVL above). General Saprang is more trigger happy eager to prove himself and that is dangerous.

Let us hope that General Sonthi would repeat the same kind of restraint against the anti-coup protesters he exhibited against the anti-Thaksin protesters.

Bangkok Pundit said...

Under the constitution, such action to dissolve the House is NOT lawful.

Pure rubbish. Nowhere in the Constitution did it state on what grounds parliament could be dissolved. So how is it illegal?


Can anybody give just ONE intelligent (lawful) reason why PM Thaksin needs to dissolve the House, other than to divert attention to matters other than what he was being charged with – and to obtain absolute power to execute military action (if need be) against all who oppose him if he can declare such action as in the interest of the nation?

In a parliamentary democracy, power to dissolve Parliament rests with the PM. The PM submits the dissolution to HM the King and HM the King dissolves parliament. There is no requirement for reasons to be given.

If Thaksin was affected personally doesn't this also affect him politically? Given that Snoh's faction was going to leave the government.

It is ironic, TRT has been called Thaksin's little toy which he controlled and dominated. If this is the case, isn't an attack against Thaksin and attack against TRT which was the government?

It is known that the PM approached the chief commander of the Thai military. Fortunately, the military commander refused to exercise military force, given the demonstrations in Bangkok were non-violent.

Again, pure rubbish. Thaksin wanted preparations in place for a state of emergency which he can declare alone. He didn't need support of the military to declare the state of emergency.

The same Gen. Sonthi who is now been championed now has formally asked Gen. Surayud to declare a state of emergency.

Subsequently, PM Thaksin called for a snap election, which we now know was unlawful.

See above. Please state how it was unlawful. Simply declaring it unlawful well is silly. I could declare you an unlawful person and that you must stop posting comments. Just because I declare this without reference to an law doesn't make it actually unlawful.



Importantly, by law under the new House, PM Thaksin could be free from prior charges and pending investigations.

Really, since when have Thai PMs had legal immunity.

PM Thaksin won the election, which is really of no surprise to any intelligent mind.

Exactly, he was popular.

However, here is the downside which should strongly strike fear into the hearts of all Thais who appreciate true democracy and freedom. The government of Thailand would also be Singapore. That means, the leaders cannot be spoken evil of, or questioned. The press can be censored, so the masses hear only what the government approves. Minds could be controlled from lack of free flow of information. The freedom of speech regarding wrong doings of the country's leaders could be curbed. There could be a "Big Brother" who possesses absolute power to dictate the conscience of Thai citizens. Thus, here is a question for all Thais: If you wanted to be a "dictator"

Hmm. Isn't that what we have now since Thaksin has been overthrown? You have perfectly described the junta.

The writer should really apply to work at The Nation. They like this kind of drivel.

sooksiam said...

Are there Thais out there who would hurt other Thais in the name of defending Chaturon and Abhisit?

It is unlikely that many Thais will hurt other Thais unless they are highly paid.

A political fragility that has been self-inflicted by…who?

When did Thepchai Yong say the coup never happened?


Fonzi watch:

Why does Fonzi keep attacking the Nation? I am beginning to believe what Matty has been trying to say. Is the owner of this site highly paid by someone or maybe he or she is not a Thai person at all, possibly a half-breed.

Sweetie pooh, you say in another topic that I am not happy with the country I am living in. When did I say that? I say that I occasionally feel frustrated with the society that I am living in. That does not mean I am not happy with the whole situation. Are you mixed up or drunk?

Fonzi obviously does not believe in Thai cultural values. Opinions do not have nationality, but…

“This 'false' freedom which you are trying to promote, is a belief constructed to compensate for the lack of cultural roots or values they can be identified with. That's why they don't have cultural sensitivity, and worst of all, respect for cultural differences."

This is why I don’t believe that Fonzi is a Thai person. He or she is radical person who tries to change the country without trying to compromise with our roots

svl said...

fonzi and bangkok pundit,

Today is judgment day and it is very likely Thai Rak Thai Party will be permanently deleted from Thai politics. And reading the defense of Thaksin from like-minded UNPAID bloggers like Fonzi, Bangkok Pundit, et al I now believe that Thai Rak Thai Party's permanent disbandment is well-deserved.

Because Thai Rak Thai party, like bloggers Fonzi and Bangkok Pundit would use the LETTER of the constitution but NOT its SPIRIT to justify the abuses, corruption, tax evasion, extrajudicial killings, divisive politics and even ineptitude (at the South) of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra if the constitutitional alphabet, but not the spirit, can be so interpreted.

Bah Bangkok Pundit spare me your legalistic interpretations and Fonzi you might as well heed Thaksin's Khmer voodoo politics as well!

I cheer the death of the alphabet TRT from Thailand's politics.

Phionist said...

By the way - I'd like to use the chance to address claims of bloggers getting paid.

Let's do the math.

I imagine bloggers like Fonzi, Andrew from New Mandala or Bangkok Pundit spend an average of 2 hours a day on their blog.

Let's assume they get paid for it by someone. Two hours a day for someone fluent in English with decent analytical abilities - even in Thailand that commands a minimum of 1000 THB per writer per day.

Fonzi reaches maybe 50 unique readers a day? That would be 20 THB per reader. Every day.

Let's assume that all of those readers are Thais that would be eligible to vote (well, given there was something as an election...). Of course that's not the case and the actual number is lower (due to foreign readers).

Let's also assume that only 25% of the readers would not vote for Thaksin before they read Fonzi (that would be 13). Let's further assume that Fonzi is such a convincing writer, that after one month of reading his blog, that percentage would increase to 75% (that would be 38).

If you do the math, that's 25 new Thaksin voters at the cost of 30,000 THB (and keep in mind that this is only due to Fonzi's amazing writing abilities).

Dear Thaksin-critics - surely you can tell me how much the villain is usually paying for a vote? After all, with so many claims of vote buyings there must be a solid number (or average price) out there for how much they go.

Is 1200 THB per vote realistic?

I'll take it further:

Let's assume it is. How many votes would have Thaksin needed to buy to get a majority? Maybe 10 million. Using the above number, that means be spend he spent 12,000,000,000 THB on vote buying (that's 240 million USD).

Seriously, if the Nation, Bangkok Post or any other media is not able to get a 100% clear investigative report together about a 240,000,000 USD vote-buying case, we definitely need more paid bloggers who critize them ;)

Phionist said...

[svl] Because Thai Rak Thai party, like bloggers Fonzi and Bangkok Pundit would use the LETTER of the constitution but NOT its SPIRIT to justify...

A doubt a military coup was in the spirit of a constitution. Very likely nothing that is aimed at the scrapping of a constitution is in the spirit of it.

Tell me, SVL, who - in the current political landscape - is acting in the spirit of any democratic institution? There are plenty of people acting in the spirit of former...well, "other" constitutions.

It is unlikely that many Thais will hurt other Thais unless they are highly paid.

I think it's narcisstic to make this claim.

How much did the people at the Thammasat student massacre receive as a compensation for the raping and killing of students (not necessarily in that order)? And who paid them?

Why does Fonzi keep attacking the Nation?

Because some their editorials are of abysmal quality I presume.

Matty said...

Phionist that was one of the most terrible arithmetic equation you have just submitted. But taking your arithmetic results at face value, it does suggest that Thaksin Shinawatra should just have merely paid his nearly US$800 million taxes due, instead of evading it, instead of these vote buying and TRT annual maintenance expenses and Thaksin would probably have come out ahead . . . and keep his integrity intact too!

But you do seem to agree to the suggestion that Andrew Walker of New Mandala (the anti-monarchist and 'sufficiency economy impoverishes the poor' academic), Bangkok Pundit (the apologist for Thaksin's fiasco at the South) and Fonzi (who merely rants at Nation at every excuse) deserve to be rewarded financially by the Thaksin camp, right Phionist? Although of the three, Bangkok Pundit deserves to be paid more being the more articulate and the more resourceful, and Andrew Walker the least for being such a loquacious incomprensible pompous bloviator on subjects of no merit or social value.

Patiwat said...

Guys, you can argue forever whether or not me, BP, Andrew, or fonzie are getting paid by Thaksin to criticize the junta.

(By the way, Thaksin, if you're reading this, I want a raise!)

But the one thing that is inarguable is that the junta has used the national budget to pay over a dozen high profile politicians and academics to criticize Thaksin.

Matty said...

Patiwat you wished to be included too? But in my opinion Patiwat you are not worth a stang at all.

But if the junta, as you claim Patiwat, "has used the national budget to pay over a dozen high profile politicians and academics to criticize Thaksin" that appears to be stingy. As against the 'dozen' academics/politicans paid by junta versus the 'army' of Patiwats and Fonzis Thaksin had amassed, not to mention those very expensive foreign lobbyists and propagandists, in this battle at least the junta is clearly outgunned.

Thaksin is still a national security risk . . . so dedicating a small amount of the national budget against the Thaksin threat seem to me worthwhile . . . but that is my personal opinion.

Kahve said...

Sooksiam, you seem to fit perfectly to the "backwater xenophobic stereotype of a Thai", unfortunatly that is what I get from your comment quoted here.

"someone or maybe he or she is not a Thai person at all, possibly a half-breed.

Fonzi obviously does not believe in Thai cultural values. Opinions do not have nationality, but…"

So, NOT a Thai person at all, possible a (god forbid) HALF-BREED! As Thai cultural values cannot depend on anyone who is half-breed. What the heck does that even mean, come on, there really is no "pure Thai", seriously. Some Thais are really the only people I personally hear still using such a word as half-breed and do not seem to see anything possibly deragotory in how they use it...And to make things worse, you yourself just used it especially in this deragotory way, implying that anyone who is from "only" party Thailand cannot claim to be "Thai"...I can see why European born Thais feel out of place in Thailand as they are reminded that they really are not "Thai"...

Fonzi said...

I think Sooksiam brings up an interesting point about what it means to be Thai. He or she obviously has a notion that being Thai means having one set of beliefs and values. These beliefs and values are decided by whom? Sooksiam? Do you work for National Identity Board?

I could make a very convincing argument that I take many of my beliefs and values from Pridi Banomyong and Buddadasa and Ajarn Mun and Ajarn Chah.

Will he deny that they are Thai?

Will he call them half breeds?

Well, Pridi was a "half breed" Chinese, so I guess he wouldn't fit into Sooksiam's limited world of Thainess.

Fonzi said...

Matty wrote:

>>But you do seem to agree to the suggestion that Andrew Walker of New Mandala (the anti-monarchist and 'sufficiency economy impoverishes the poor' academic), Bangkok Pundit (the apologist for Thaksin's fiasco at the South) and Fonzi (who merely rants at Nation at every excuse) deserve to be rewarded financially by the Thaksin camp, right Phionist? Although of the three, Bangkok Pundit deserves to be paid more being the more articulate and the more resourceful, and Andrew Walker the least for being such a loquacious incomprensible pompous bloviator on subjects of no merit or social value.<<

You are making a very strong argument against us being paid.

We are obviously not worthy of Thaksin's largesse.