Probe on claims junta is seeking party members

politics December 24, 2017 01:00



THE NATIONAL Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is to investigate speculation that the junta is attempting to recruit former members of the House of Representatives to join a military party, spokesperson Maj-General Piyapong Klinpan said yesterday.

This follows the recent revelation by former Pheu Thai MP Somkid Chueakong that that those in power have started contacting some ex-MPs and are negotiating with them to join a military party.

Piyapong said the NCPO, junta and government were obliged to administer the country and maintain people’s confidence in them.

The NCPO needs to check any speculation and create the “right understanding” with the people, Piyapong said, adding that findings of the probe would be released to the public.

At this point, he said, the NCPO would not make counter-claims against anyone.

“We believe that the facts will show themselves and the issue will be relieved afterwards,” said Piyapong.

Meanwhile, in his televised address on Friday, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha addressed democracy and spoke about the book “The Digital Economy”, which notes that it is becoming more common for people to avoid exercising their right to vote.

The book is by Canadian business executive and author Don Tapscott, who also wrote “Wikinomics” and “Grown Up Digital”. 

Tapscott notes that in the past 20 years, fewer and fewer people have been exercising their voting rights in countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and United States. Countries with 90 per cent turnout in 1992 declined to only 66 per cent in 2012, the author wrote.

“In this sense, it can be observed that democracy under a House of Representatives may be outdated in today’s world and has developed into participatory or inclusive democracy,” Prayut said.

“What can we take from this book? What will likely happen in the future?”

Prayut added that countries around the world had similar political challenges and the larger the population, the more political problems the country had.

He urged the public to take Tapscott’s views into consideration and quoted Tapscott as writing that politicians were the core of trust-building among the public, so they needed to be open and just, and communicate facts to the people. 

He also said that politicians should be trustworthy and open to people’s opinions and sentiments, and must not violate the basic rights of their citizens. Nor should they wrong or defame others. 

“I myself have been trying to do this and have never made accusations against anyone – and I certainly will not retaliate to anyone who has,” claimed the premier.

Prayut said Tapscott mentioned responsibility and said people must not support greedy politicians who use money to seek power or personal benefits. There were laws regulating projects to prevent corruption and this problem had to be fixed definitively, Prayut added.

The prime minister went on to cite Tapscott as saying that an effective and stable government was derived from the public. The private sector and the people had to help each other to build strong communities, stressing cooperation and mutual support. Prayut claimed that this was similar to his government’s Pracharat (“state of the people”) approach.

Prayut then cited the benefit of technology in helping create understanding among the people and enhancing public participation in areas such as budgeting and policy-making. This was another form of public participation in democracy, he said.

Last but not least, Prayut stressed, it was transparency that would boost credibility and trust between all stakeholders. This required responsibility and honesty, he said.