PPT missed an important news report some two weeks ago that still deserves attention for it displays the military dictatorship’s authoritarian mindset.
Under the misguided and misleading headline “Thai PM Talking Perfect Sense Again,” Pattaya One reproduces a ThaiPBS report that comments on a recent edition of the weekly “Returning Happiness to the People” speech on television by The Dictator.
General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared and warned that “Thai people who escaped abroad and harmed the country will have their names announced publicly in nation-wide radio and TV broadcast…”.
The almost always furious Dictator “did not give any hints about who they are but said that he believed these fugitives would never return to Thailand and Thai people here would not allow them to return either.” He said: “I think Thai people cannot accept these elements. There are several of them.” He claimed that “some of them escaped for ridiculous reasons.”
We imagine that “ridiculous” means avoiding lese majeste or sedition charges.
More threateningly, The Dictator “also asked Thai people abroad and in Thailand to keep a close watch on these people.” In this, by encouraging Thais overseas to act as vigilantes for the military regime, he also encourages them to break laws in those overseas countries.
Finally, and revealingly, the report states: “Without mentioning the name, he pointed out that, as a matter of fact, there is just one person who has been behind all the attempts to harm Thailand.” Of course, he means Thaksin Shinawatra. The fear and loathing of Thaksin among the military junta remains strong.
The Dictator “made it clear” that he “is willing to talk with all parties concerned in order to find a solution to the country’s problems but with one condition that they must not ‘help a wrongdoer who defied the law’.” Again, he means Thaksin. Presumably, this statement is a another way of dismissing millions of Thais who voted for pro-Thaksin parties over the past decade and a half.