I cannot hold back my resentment upon hearing the military government and especially the Army chief argue against calls for a cut in the military budget.
They also shouted down the suggestion of Pheu Thai PM candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan that the budget be cut by a mere 10 per cent, which should be diverted to helping young entrepreneurs.
Adding salt to the wound, the Army chief Apirat Kongsompong ordered Army radio stations to broadcast nationwide the highly divisive song “Nak Phandin”, only to retract his call a few hours later and limit broadcasts to military compounds. Apirat is the son of the late coup-maker Sunthorn Kongsompong, the man who awarded the telecom concession to Thaksin Shinawatra, who is the root of the political divide and crisis up to this day.
Meanwhile, Nation TV’s evening programmes seem to be ignoring this divisive politics and instead promoting the military junta. One Nation TV anchorman recently tried to tell viewers that this junta’s military budgets of a mere 7-7.5 per cent are actually in line with those of past governments. However, he neglected to detail the incremental increases in military spending over spending on other ministries such as education and human resource development, not to mention the fact that the weapons purchased do not match the needs of our current peaceful era. Neither do submarines, tanks and fighter-jets help in cases of catastrophe such as floods, landslides, etc, as junta chief Prayut claimed.
It is time that the entire military establishment was reformed and made accountable to the needs of the taxpayers, not just those of the generals in charge.