March 10, 2014 00:00 By Pravit Rojanaphruk The Nation
The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) launched its first forum on national reform Monday, relying on input from key public figures and a reform panel set up under the previous government.
Poldej Pinprateep, a member of the reform panel that was formerly led by social critic Prawese Wasi and a member of the Cabinet member under the military-appointed administration, chaired the meeting Monday.
Poldej, who was sitting next to PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban at the Lumpini Park Youth Centre, said discussions would be based on the findings made by the reform panel under the previous government, adding that the discussion this time would cover six of the 10 issues previously flagged up. He reckoned that this round would take up to two weeks.
Of the six topics touched upon Monday, the two main ones were poverty and social disparity. Five experts were allotted seven minutes each to offer a proposal on how they would tackle the two issues, while PDRC members were granted three minutes each.
Suthep clarified that the findings on the six issues would be presented to a “People’s Assembly” and adopted by a non-elected, interim government once Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration has been ousted.
However, with this process only involving PDRC supporters, the question that comes to mind is whether it can ever be adopted without resistance from the red shirts.
Chokchuang Chutinaton, a 69-year-old paediatrician and hardcore PDRC supporter, said the focus should be on removing the current administration and then putting in place reforms.
“When an army defeats [its opponents], it doesn’t invite the conquered [to take part in rebuilding]. When we win, we won’t involve those who have lost, other than youngsters, whom we can train.
“Pardon me, I’m not saying we’re perfect either,” Chokchuang said, adding that PDRC’s victory was a certainty because “good always prevails”.