The military on top means remarkable arrogance in the use and abuse of power.
The Bangkok Post reports the junta “has secretly approved the controversial procurement of a Chinese submarine costing 13.5 billion baht.”
Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Kongcheep Tantravanich stated: “… not all issues approved by the cabinet have to be conveyed to the press…”.
In fact, it isn’t entirely clear whether the decision was made by the junta’s cabinet or its Defense Council, both reported to have met around the time that the billions of baht were approved.
Kongcheep also gave an insight into the junta’s view of history, declaring that “60 years ago, Thailand had submarines so now the country is simply going to have them again.”
So conniving in the theft of an 80 year-old plaque commemorating constitutionalism would seem reasonable to this lot.
While on the Navy, PPT came across an interesting report at the website of the Thai Embassy in Washington, headlined “Navy investing in EEC ports, Phuket port expands.”
It states that “The Royal Thai Navy is moving full steam ahead towards developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with a nearly $60 million dollar investment in 13 projects including ferry ports…”. It goes on:
The Eastern Economic Corridor is a development zone that will showcase advances in Thailand’s economy and society and provide a home for higher-technology and green industries, research and development centers and more modern and environmentally friendly communities….
Developing the zone in and of itself should provide an important economic stimulus in terms of investment, both domestic and foreign, and through a robust building and construction program.
The Navy’s projects will include a business area covering five acres at Chuk Samet, Sattahip, along with two quays for ferries and cruise liners, a ferry terminal and multimodal transport links. The ferries will link the EEC with cities, towns, resorts and manufacturing centers along the … east coast on the Gulf of Thailand and the port will be expanded to handle cruise liners.
That investment is about 15% of a submarine.
It also shows how the Navy, like the Army and Air Force are businesses that deliver wealth to admirals, generals and air marshals, making them all unusually wealthy, at the taxpayers’ expense.
The arrogance of power is the source of corruption. But when there’s a military dictatorship, they can easily do these things. No transparency, no scrutiny.