Pre-warning: prepare for RED attack

10 03 2010

A while ago, many would think “well the RED is loosing public support, they would not create any impact”, some might say “they are too divided and weak”. Well, those statements can be the thing in the past as the RED Army seems to be well prepared to march to Bangkok on 12th March. Their dream to have one million man to march to Bangkok remains a dream. Yet, we can not and should not underestimate the impact of this RED Rally. It is just my feeling that the rally will go out of hand just like the situation in April 2009. We will again witness people who have different political views confront each other in a blood bath fight.

The government asked people not to be panic about the rally. Yet, the government officials are taking important documentations out of the government house. This is not the way to ensure the public’s safety. If the Democrat government can not control the upcoming incidence, the country will be more ungovernable. Since it took over the government, Democrat Party has not been able to take control of the whole country. Most of their key leaders have not been able to initiate events in the north and north eastern regions. They are well accepted by Bangkokian people and people in the central, southern and eastern regions. But is this the way to run the country?

The RED has been saying repeatedly that they will not resort to violence. They say they and the RED Siam, which intends to overthrow the monarchy, are not together. Yet, Jakkaprob Penkhae, who is known to be close to the RED, recently appeared on the panel of RED Siam. Can the RED still deny that there is no link between them and the RED Siam group.

Rumour has it that the RED plans to burn down Bangkok Bank, government house, sirirath hospital and also petrol stations in main cities.  Each pick up car will get THB 20,000 to join the rally to restore democracy in this country. If this rumour is true and if it happens between 12-14 March, the RED and its supporters must take full responsibility of their violence act. Another funny theory of taxi drivers is that they need to join the rally to rescue the King who has been taken hostage by Abhisit and General Prem in Sirirath Hospital. I am amazed at this kind of funny theories. Funny and amazing it may seem, we have people who believe in these information. These people will join the rally and do exactly everything they are told to do “JUST TO SAVE THE KING” without knowing that in doing so they have only satisfy one man who is not inside the country whose family members leave the country when the time of the rally is close…isn’t it time to wake up people! We are responsible for our lives and safety. We do thing that is best for ourselves, for our family, friends, community, society and more…but we still must take full responsibilities in whatever we do…

The government needs to be tough, arrest those who initiate violence act, penalise them to show that no one is above the law. If they want to be in their “democratic system” they have to respect the rule and the law. Rights to protest does not imply that one can break the law. If the government is afraid to act tough or unclear of what to respond to RED attack, we can then forget of moving forward. We will continue to stuck in this mess. We have been in this unpleasant situation for too long, it is time to unlock and move on.

It is too close to predict what will happen from 12 – 14 March. But if we can not survive the day, perhaps the highest institution  will also fall. Is this the end of….

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship: the million-man march

4 03 2010

Not realistic, Lack of Real Ultimate Goal and Strategy

This was the first time I ever have a chance to join the press conference organised by the UDAD. It was yesterday at the FCCT. The aim  of the PC, they saaid, was to give briefing to “foreign press” regarding the upcoming rally: The Million-Man March to be held from 12 – 14 March 2010. Strategic location was announced to be from Sanam Luang to Rama V.

I think one of the objectives of this PC is to level up the issue internationally, especially after Thaksin’s assets were confiscated following court verdict on 26th February. Moreover, they must realise most of the local media is not with them, especially after the  fall of the ASEAN summit in Pattaya that followed the April, 2009 incidences.

Speakers supposed to come and give briefing are the following:

– Veera Musikapong

– Nattawut Saikua

– Jaran Ditthapichai

– Darunee Kritboonyalai

– Sean Boonpracong (facilitator and RED International Coordinator)

However, Veera and Nattawut did not turn up as they were very much into the planning of the political rally.  Dr. Weng Tojirakarn replaced Veera and Nattawut only briefly.  They said learning from the past experience in the April incidence, they have adopted new strategy and will use non-violent approach. They said they were inexperienced in dealing with the mass last year but they have corrected it and claimed have improved rally organisation and crowd’s management too. They also claimed that 70% of urban middle class in Bangkok have turned their back to the PAD / Yellow and would surely join UDAD in the million-man march. They said the demand two things: 1) house dissolution and 2) the return of 1997 constitution . The government will have to choose whether to dissolve the house or to suppress the protesters.

I almost dance with the tune, until the question and answer session started. Questions seemed to focus on how to make sure that the rally will not tilt towards violence, how to make sure that the situation like the April 7th will not reoccur, the financial source to fund food, transportation and guards and importantly the stance of RED on the monarchy?

The speakers said that there will be no violence, RED supporters will carry no weapon. They told the audience their plan to manage the crowd from all over the country.Daranee OISHI said her friends offered substantial financial support and she earned more funding through concerts and etc. The RED wants to abolish bureaucrats and political elites but wants the King as the Head of State.

Let’s me share my thought. When I left the room, i kept thinking how come they did not convince me at all.The more I listened to them, the more I know why they have been so unsuccessful. If you develop a strategy to bring down the government, you would keep it a top secret. You would share your strategy only to your team members and you would do everything according to the plan. Every strategist knows that once the information is out, your opponent will adopt a counter strategy to win  over you. At the PC, all speakers were sharing their strategy how they plan to march from where to where and how they plan to manage the crowd. So to me, they may not have a strategy as claimed.

Secondly, what is their indicator that the urban middle class Yellow supporters would lend their support to them. They are as loyal to the yellow as the RED supporters. We all know that changing people’s attitude, belief and perception is difficult. I do not believe that people can switch side over a night. It takes time and these two groups, in most cases, can not mix. Most of them can not even sit on the same table and have a decent conversation.

Thirdly, they claim they adopt non-violent approach. They say there would be no violence if the government does not start it first. For me, the rally itself will definitely suffice to tilt towards violence.

Finally, will they have the number? They claim they have trained people in the villages all over the country and especially in the North and Northeastern regions. They say those trained supporters would come to join them next weekend. However, looking at a few demonstrations organised by the RED shirt, rough estimate of maximum participation would be around 200,000 people. I think it is unrealistic and they will not have the number. Unless this is their last card and they madly invest over one hundred million baht to mobilise the crowd. Even then, one million is unrealistic.

Will they achieve the goal – house dissolution? It may be unlikely. Yet, it can not be underestimated. Better keep close watch as the situation develops.

Old Soldiers Never Die in Peua Thai Party

22 10 2009

It is not a surprise to see Gen Chavalit so devoted himself to protect Thaksin. His recent appearance in Cambodia with Hun Sen, his latest comment on the relations between Thaksin and Hun Sen including his offer to meet up with PAD leaders aimed to destabilise the current coalition government. This is the card old soldiers need to play if he or they are to sit to command as the head of the party.

But for me, it is so funny! It can be the talk of the town among my parents generation, but not my generation and not the younger generation. They are so out of politics. They have never looked around, they only listen to small of group of trusted friends. Chavalit is a yesterday leader. His idea on current situation is so outdated. If he would like to bring on outside enemy, he should have picked a better leader than Hun Sen. Who respect Hun Sen in Thailand? Even if his intention is to level it up to the international level, since ASEAN Summit is taking place here and the world attention is on us, this is a wrong step to take.

Having a negotiation with PAD is just for his own benefit. Does not he know that people are fading away from Yellow as they had set bad rules for the RED to follow. Freedom to demonstrate comes with responsibility. Both Yellow and RED show no respect to the rule and the law. They show no responsibilities of the political turmoil they caused since 2007.

Whatever step Gen Chavisit takes, it will bring the party and himself to its downfall.

Rail strike: It is not a joke. It is a pain.

22 10 2009

When I first heard about the rail strike a few days ago, I did not think it would come this far. I did not think that rail drivers would dump passengers at the station. I did not think that it is a test of PM Abhisit’s leadership and management skill. But since it has been on the news headline for almost a week, I have come to realise that this is not just a simple rail strike. They did it with a purpose. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) unionists is politically motivated to do what they have been doing.

“The train can not be continued as it is not safe enough” seems to the argument from the unionists. Whatever arguments they have to tell, damages have been done. They left elderly and young children at the rail station. They should have been more considered to passengers.

PM Abhisit’s firm stand on the issue is appreciated. Recent polls showed that over 70% of the people do not support the unionists. It causes too much problem for all train passengers.

I still can not see the end of the rail strike but we know that every problem has a solution. I am hopeful that the government can hendle the situation. Thailand’s rail needs a reform. It needs to be privatise for a better service. We may need to pay more for that but it is better than having our lives in the hands of just a few big people. With privatisation, customer is the king. We can complain if the service does not worth the money we pay.

Joint Communique on Preah Vihear: violation of constitution???

29 09 2009

The National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) is going to make a decision on the Preah Vihear case today whether to indict 36 people including ministers of the Samak Sundaravej cabinet and state officials charged in connection with the cabinet approval on June 17 l2008 for Thailand to sign a joint communique with Cambodia without seeking advice from parliament. However, before making any prediction on the outcome, it is important to note that the Constitution Court had earlier ruled that the Preah Vihear joint communique was endorsed by the Samak cabinet in violation of the Constitution.

The joint communique was to support Cambodia’s application to list the ancient Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site. The NACC on Nov 13 2008 decided to press charges against the Samak cabinet members, except four who were absent, for negligence of duty and violation of Article 190 of the 2007 Constitution, and certain state officials for malfeasance. Of the 36, four are members of the current government. They are Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Pattaraprasit, Information and Communication Technology Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee, and Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul.

The decision of today is likely to have an impact on the credibility of the Prime Minister and the Military. Democrat Party and its current Foreign Minister claimed that by signing the Joint Communique Samak government had given up certain Thai territories to Cambodia.  This is similar to the constitutional court decision. I would like to think that NCCC’s decision will go in the same direction IF some of the defendants are not holding positions in the current coalition government.

If they decide that it does not violate the constitution then the decision made by NCCC will overrule the constitutional court decision. It will also tarnish the government credibility since the Prime Minister has insisted until today that Thailand has not lost any territory to Cambodia. It is another interesting day in Thai politics.

Political decision: The rubber saplings corruption case

25 09 2009

Another historic court verdict in Thailand history: the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions found all 44 defendants (who served under Thaksin leadership) in the Bt1.44 billion rubber sapling project graft case not guilty. This shall stand to remind all the Thais of injustice and incredibility of our judiciary system: the lack of independence of members of the judiciary. It is a political rather than legal decision.

Newin who served as the former deputy agriculture minister and the 43 co-defendants were charged with corruption the procurement of 90 million rubber saplings for about 1.4 billion baht for farmers in the North and the Northeast. Let’s imagine if Newin did not switch side and he was loyal to Thaksin and Puea Thai Party, would the verdict still be read the way it did? Does his supporting role or mediating role in the current coalition government facilitate his corruption case?

Newin has played an important role in the current coalition. The injustice court verdict on rubber saplings case has brightened up a political prospect of a rising political star, Newin Chidchob, a de facto leader and a newly appointed headmaster of Bhumjaithai Party. Crying while giveing interview to the press won him the best actor award!

However, Newin and the other former executives of the disbanded parties still face another legal hurdle that is the five-year political ban imposed by the Constitution court. To be able to make a political come back, the constitution would need to be amended or amnesty bill be enacted. It is interesting and something to watch is whther the chater will be amended to facilitate his political ban? If the rubber sapling is the first example to show how the verdict will be read, it is not very difficult to predict the outcome of the online lottery case and the rest that involve Newin and his crews. It is a political case that ends with political decision.

Conspiracy Theory: Sondhi Limthongkul Assassination attempts

23 07 2009

Who attempted to assassinate Sondhi Limthongkul, Thai media tycoon, a leader of People’s Alliance for Democracy and a royalist?

There are a few schools of thought. Let’s look at two possibilities out of those fews. First, the bill to kill was issued by the royalty since Sondhi himself when asked pointed his fingers to the palace. Second, it was an attempt by his most wanted enemy a former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. Well one might question whether both have enough motives to commit the crime?

Let’s look at the first theory. Why does the palace ordered a bill to kill Sondhi since he is a royalist and his yellow protesters are for the King? Well, the palace does not mean only the King does it? It covers a wide range of people behind it. One may also consider the old saying: when the war is won, the general is killed. But the yellow has not won the people war here. Their attempt ended with the closure of the airport which met with people resistance and anger. How can an innocent and well respected person who is behind the yellow protest get out of this situation? To distance oneself? Sondhi has a great influence  in the PAD and having him killed would perhaps solve the problem as the yellow protest will slowly die down.

Second school of thought would argue it is so obvoius who attempted to assasinate Sondhi. It can be no one else except his long time enemy Thaksin Shinawatra. We all know that although Thaksin resides outside Thailand, his influence in the country is tremendous.  Referring to the deputy police chief who heads the investigation, he said it was a combined effort between the Police and the Military. The person who has a power to order both forces to commit this kind of act must be someone who is in a commanding position. The person can be someone in the current government someone who would benefit from Sondhi’s death. This links well to the latest interview given by the Gen Thani, head of police investigation who instead of reporting the progress to the Police Chief, he chose to report directly to Prime Minister Abhisit. It will have yet to be seen if Abhisit has the gut to go after the person who is behind the case.

Whatever will happen at the end of the investigation, I feel that the government will not be able to reveal the whole truth. They too have to rely on others for thier survival and for their political future. The public will have to live in the dark. Thais can easily forget what happen no matter how serious it is, can we?