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Expectations high that reforms under NCPO will end turbulence

Many Participants at yesterday's Road to Thailand Reform event agreed it was time to reform the country and are optimistic the efforts would finally end the political crisis.

They also expressed confidence in the leadership of the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

The audience, which numbered more than 1,000, included military officials, non-governmental organisation members, public servants, farmers and politicians. The event commenced at 10am at Army Club.

Piroch Jirakarnchanakij, of the Department of Local Administration, said: "The country's problems have been going on for too long. Therefore, it's about time to fix the problems.

"The meeting today was useful because it gave knowledge about the reform."

Naret Rewong, of the Mass Internal Security Operations Command, said he was optimistic the NCPO would lead the country out of the current turbulence.

"I am impressed with General Prayuth. He's decisive and direct," he said. "I particularly like his proposal to focus on raising the salary base for lower-rank public servants because if we raise salaries at all levels, it will cost too much."

Naret said he was impressed with the many things that had been done since the NCPO took over, including the introduction of new regulations governing public buses as part of the plan to relieve traffic congestion.

"The public bus issue was nothing new, but hasn't been effectively solved in the past but NCPO was decisive in tackling the problem," he said.

Public buses were seen as a factor causing traffic jams because many drivers parked on the road.

Naret said the NCPO's presence in communities had reduced crime because criminals were intimidated by the military

When Prayuth mentioned some key issues that needed to be addressed, he received a warm response from the audience.

Amongst the audience were representatives of rival political factions.

Veerakan Musigapong, a former red-shirt chairman, stressed there was a need for judicial reform as a response to the public accusing it of double standards.

He also said that the future red-shirt movement would depend on how the country's executive branch behaved and future circumstances.

When asked whether he voluntarily came to the meeting, he said "No".

Satit Pitutacha, deputy leader of the Democrat Party, said the party was willing to cooperate with the NCPO and understood the junta's goodwill.

However, Satit said there remained many issues that needed to be clearly addressed such as defamation of the monarchy, respect of the law and the discrediting of the judiciary. The public also needed to be educated about true democracy.

Gumpanart Permsuk, leader of the little-known Thai Independent Party, wanted to see more politicians at the event.

He also said he wanted to see more politicians participate in the National Reform Council.


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