I have been following the situation with concern after General Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of national security, announced a relaxing of the ban on political activities.
As anticipated, the peaceful environment that we have enjoyed during the past four years has started to erode.
Politicians-in-waiting have begun discrediting the government and finding faults in its administration. Perhaps the politicians figure the people have forgotten what they did to the country and the trillions of baht in tax money they stole from us.
Vivid memories of the chaos before General Prayut took control are rising once more. Might Bangkok burn again? Streets be barricaded? Airport closed? People maimed and killed?
Calming my fears was Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong’s warning to the politicians not to cause trouble. He made it clear that the Army would uphold the monarchy and protect the Constitution.
I make no attempt to change the attitude of those who oppose General Prayut and his government. All I ask is that, as free-thinking adults, they pause to consider those waiting in the wings – young and so-called untainted politicians, wishing to take control of the country with a claim to offer “full democracy” and prosperity.
If elected they say they would replace the 2017 Constitution, passed by a majority of the people, with a new one; and they would void Article 44 and the special powers therein. The words might mislead many people into thinking that “full democracy” will lead to a Thai utopia. However, managing a country with a population of 70 million takes a lot more than these kids realise. Do any of these young politicians have a proven record of loyal service to their country, coupled with dedication, honesty and integrity? Did their wealth result from hard work, or from the benevolent hands of parents and family? And what might be their real motivation and agenda?
I call on all Thais to think carefully before casting their vote. Lee Kuan Yew did not lay the foundations for today’s Singapore with weak laws and loose personal “freedoms”.
At this critical stage, a return to conflict between self-interested political parties would spell disaster.