Angry Prayut says media should ‘get over’ Thaksin
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s temper flared on Wednesday when he was asked about a recent poll by King Prajadhipok’s Institute that showed fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra had a higher credibility rating while in office than Prayut has now.
“I am so over him. But you [the media], you’re not. And you keep reporting [news] about him,” Prayut responded after first pretending not to hear the question and asking the reporter to repeat herself.
Asked whether he was also “over” his former boss – former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who recently fled the country – the general said he was “over” everyone from conflicting parties. But it did not mean he disrespected them, he said.
“By getting over them, I mean I don’t think of them. I don’t give importance to this kind of stuff, because I’m not like they say I am,” he said.
He said he “got over” these people since his very first days in office, and now he just wanted justice to prevail.
Clearly upset, Prayut continued: “I’d really like you to do the same and start asking better questions. Ask about my trip to join the BRICS meeting. Ask me if I’m tired or how much Thailand is welcome there. But you never care.”
Prayut said that matters involving the Shinawatra siblings were being handled in the judicial process.
He said the best thing was to forget them and leave them to the justice system. If not, the country would not go anywhere.
“Do you get that there are wrongdoings there? Please report so,” he said. “For my part, I can only tell the international community about the wrongdoings. Whether or not they are guilty depends on the justice system. But because of their flight, they cannot proceed with the cases. That’s it.”
Prayut said the government did not want to “go after” anyone, but the wrongdoings had occurred before he took power.
The prime minister went on to say that the issue had been neglected in the past and this had resulted in people coming out into the streets to fight one another.
He asked whether the media was trying to provoke the people again. Clearly irritated, Prayut said that finally the blame would be put on him.
“Don’t think that I do not follow your [the media] work. I always do. But I only read what matters and I skip the nonsense,” Prayut said.
Before leavingm he added: “I want to know why you never asked whether I’m tired, whether I will be back, where I have been. But don’t ask me now. It’s too late. I’m back here and the first thing I get is these questions. It’s you that never get over them.”
King Prajadhipok's Institute’s most recent survey revealed on Tuesday that fugitive former prime minister Thaksin was perceived as the most popular and credible prime minister in the past 15 years, slightly surpassing current PM Prayut.
Thaksin’s popularity rating was highest at 87.8 per cent in 2003, while Prayut’s was 87.5 in 2015, a year after he seized power. Thaksin’s government also scored above Prayut’s, with 92.9 in 2003 compared to 78.8 in 2015.
Although the general’s peak rating was lower than Thaksin’s, Prayut was more popular during the downturn. Prayut scored 84.8 per cent in 2017, while Thaksin’s dropped to 77.2 in 2006.
Meanwhile, former premiers Abhisit and Yingluck rated between 50 and 60 per cent. Abhisit received 61.6 and 51.2 per cent in 2010 and 2011 respectively, while Yingluck’s rating was at 69.9 per cent in 2012, down to 63.4 during 2013 and 2014.
When it came to the credibility of individuals or groups of individuals, the people surveyed laid their trust best in state medical staff, who socred more than 85 per cent, followed by private medical staff on 85.6, the military (85.1), the PM (84.8), civil officials (82.3), and the National Council for Peace and Order, 82.1.
Political parties, on the contrary, ranked among the lowest receiving less than 40 per cent.