Since Thaksin Shinawatra came to power 13 years ago, Thailand has succumbed to unprecedented divisiveness with dire consequences. The rural folks have been pitched against Bangkok elite.
Yellow shirts against red shirts. Our monarchy has been trampled. Thaksin’s successive nominee governments have been preoccupied with a power play, tampering with law and the Constitution to enhance its power and do away with opposition and parliamentary oversight. Our courts of law have been ridiculed and their rulings ignored. Extra-judicial killing has been rampant. Corruption, too, not least in the rice subsidy scheme which has resulted in US$10 billion lost from government coffers. And yet farmers have been left unpaid. The military coup, which has the support of a popular uprising, was the inevitable outcome. For now, Thailand has been saved from the clutches of Thaksin and possible civil war. Our immediate task is to bring about meaningful reforms to the law and government institutions and to ensure their effectiveness. Policies introduced by Thaksin must be given due consideration. But his runaway corruption, cronyism and abuse of power must be eradicated. Firm and decisive action from the military committee is required and we must give it due support. There is no soft way out of this political tragedy. Once this issue is resolved, Thailand will prosper as a democracy.