PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday threatened to draw on his power under the interim charter to punish those who participate in a campaign to wear red shirts in support of former premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday.
The government will also speed up prosecution in serious cases, including corruption, to facilitate the reconciliation process, the premier said during his weekly press briefing yesterday.
Prayut called on people to not violate the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s order and his absolute authority under Article 44, as he had now “established sovereign power”. Prayut also insisted that he would never use his special powers without proper reason.
He said that people were free to wear any colour they wanted, provided they didn’t cause conflict. However, he added that if anybody was found to be violating regulations, such people and their leaders would certainly be prosecuted.
Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned that people should consider whether they want the country to return to the divisive atmosphere that ruled before last year’s coup.
“NCPO orders have been in effect for a long while,” he said. “[Offenders] can’t say that they are being abused by the government, because these orders were in place long before their actions took place.”
The government will also speed prosecution against serious cases related to political conflicts, the PM said, adding that the deadline had now been brought forward to next year. Those involved in corruption or organising political rallies resulting in casualties would not be exempt from legal action, he added.
“We can’t just reconcile right away,” he said. “Legal action has to be taken.”
However, Sansern said the same legal standards may not be applied to minor cases, adding that this exception is also meant to help pave the way for reconciliation. He said the process for total reconciliation should be made clear by 2017, adding that the government would not interfere with legal agencies responsible for the cases.
Meanwhile, Deputy Premier Wissanu Krea-ngam said the subject of reconciliation would not be raised at today’s meeting of the so-called “Five Rivers” – the Cabinet, NCPO, the Constitution Drafting Committee, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA).