Junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday brushed aside a widely-shared article from a Jakarta Post columnist who suggested that Thailand should not be allowed to host next April’s ASEAN summit unless Prayuth has fulfilled his much-delayed promise of holding a fair election.
Next year will be Thailand’s turn at the revolving helm of the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc, with Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong scheduled to hand over his chairmanship to Prayuth in November.
But an article from columnist Kornelius Purba, published last Tuesday, calls for Indonesia and Thailand’s neighbors to help put the country back in the hands of civilian control by preventing the military junta from chairing the ASEAN conference.
“Will Indonesia just let it happen?” he writes.
“The Thai junta does not deserve the position [to chair the ASEAN meeting] amid strong waves of democratization in this region.”
“Thailand’s neighbors should help it to regain its reputation as not just a role model for economic development and good governance, but also as a nation that ensures civilian supremacy.”
Speaking to reporters at the Government House yesterday, Prayuth dismissed the commentary with an ironic statement — Jakarta Post, who?
“Why should I comment?” Prayuth responded to a Thai reporter who brought up the article.
The reporter continued, “Well, they said…”
“Who are they?” Prayuth cut her off. “Who’s Jakarta [Post]? Did Indonesia say this? Did the Indonesian government say this? Media are media. End of story.”
Prayuth went on to say that such comment is not important, and Thai media should not ask questions that will lead to conflict.
“Why?! Why do you ask this sort of questions? Any more questions that could stir up conflicts?” Prayuth said. Hoo boy.
In May 2014, the military junta toppled the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra, which fell amid allegations of corruption in her rice policy, which effectively guaranteed high prices for the nation’s farmers regardless of market conditions.
Prayuth has failed, time after time, to fulfill his promise of holding an election, while continuing a ban on political gatherings of more than five people.
Earlier this year, he said an election will be held no later than February 2019.
Source : Coconuts