Civil servants slam CAPO for 'intimidating' officials

national April 19, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Network of Civil Servants calls on its colleagues to protect their dignity

The Network of Civil Servants has slammed the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) over what it regards as bids to intimidate and humiliate people who adopt an anti-government stance.
The network, comprised of 12 groups of civil servants, released a statement yesterday calling on all civil servants to fight against CAPO to protect their dignity.
The statement came after CAPO attacked Justice Ministry permanent secretary Kittipong Kittayarak after he invited People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban to visit the ministry on April 8. 
The group said CAPO should not attack the heads of ministries and representatives of high-level officials as they have their own reasons for doing what they do.
It said high-level officials were key people needed to resolve the country’s political crisis, while all sides should listen to one another to find a way to relieve the tension.
The network insisted that civil servants maintain impartiality over the political turmoil.
It said civil servants obeyed leaders who adhered to legal and moral principles.
CAPO ordered the permanent secretaries from each ministry to attend a meeting on Thursday to discuss ways to handle the crisis.
All permanent secretaries were in attendance except Public Health permanent secretary Narong Sahameta-pat, who openly agrees with the anti-government PDRC.
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and CAPO chief adviser Surapong Tovichakchaikul suggested that Narong, who is on the CAPO committee, would quit rather than be disciplined.
Surapong said Narong had violated CAPO’s order and the body’s committee had discussed his behaviour.
“Narong must decide himself whether to resign from his top position or not. It would be a stigma for him if he is given punishment,” Surapong said.
Narong insisted that he was not able to attend the meeting due to work commitments. 
He said he met with National Anti-Corruption Commission officials to ask for their advice on implementing transparency principles at the ministry.
He insisted that he had never taken a political side and it was his right not to attend the meeting.
“I have my own considerations on what I should and should not do,” he said.
CAPO director Chalerm Yoobam-rung said Narong had taken the wrong side and told him to stand on the PDRC stage.  Chalerm told Narong not use his ministry as his personal base.

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