Thailand’s new hope?

12 02 2008
New cabinet – new hope?
In his recent interview with CNN’s Talk Asia on the weekend of 9 & 10 February 2008, Thailand’s new Prime Minister Mr. Samak Sundaravej, said that his job is to “just bring the contry back to normal”. Poeple should be pleased with his sincere intention to bring back normalcy to the society – especially after years under military leaders, but why I heard only negative criticism of his interview.
Bangkokians and most of urban middle class would argue that he is only a puppet Prime Minister, a nominee of the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatr. To this, Mr. Samak countered, “I am the leader of the party, Irun this country. I have my own thinking. What is wrong with my close ties to Thaksin?” This sentence we heard often even before he was elected Prime Minister of Thailand. As a leader of the party, you are of course expected to become a prime minister but why i heard people questioned his capability, IQ, EQ and a wait for a direction and confirmation from Hong Kong that Mr. Samak should be PM. So it seems, Mr. Samak could not confirm to the public if he would be PM unless and until Mr. Thaksin directed and confirmed!
Mr. Samak’s choice of a new cabinet is packed with politicians of unsavory reputations tied to ousted PM Thaksin. In his television interview, he said that it might look ugly but he has done his best as a coalition government to allocate seats to the allies. Perhaps doing his best was not enough. His new cabinet was criticized widely by the media and the public as “unqualified, unsuitable and tainted by allegations of corruption.The best pick of Mr. Samak but it is a nightmare of the public was the Minister of Interior, Mr. Chalerm Yoobamrung – who involved in gambling business while in politics. He is well known in using his political clout to get out of legal trouble. A case in point is when his son killed a policeman but walked free and is recently made Mr. Chalerm’s secretary – just only a week after his public statement that his son would not be involved in politics!
When People Power Party won the election last December, its result stunned many. However, people accepted decision of the majority. If this what the majority wanted, we should all respect and go by rule. When the cabinet lineup was announced, people criticised but accepted. When the Minister in the Prime Minister Office said that he would recreate ITV, people listened and a few might agree. But many start to wonder when this game of political revenge will end. How many projects that were shut down by the military regime would be reinvented by this new government? When would the political polarisation end? When can we look forward to the future? When people’s hope for political stability and maturity would be considered a top priority of the government?



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