When the military is on top VIII

The Dictator has asked for “public support for the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project to help it get off the ground, while reiterating that his Section 44 order to speed up construction is in the country’s best interests, not a special favour to China.”

Has anyone asked how a high-speed rail line, which will be a passenger service through reasonably sparsely populated areas, is economically viable? Freight to Laos, Vietnam and China might be, that wouldn’t be high-speed.

Yet this is kind of a side issue when the military dictatorship simply decides and decrees that its will be done.

Let us remind the anti-democrats, so driven by (crocodile) tears over “corruption,” that you do get exactly what you whistled for.

An op-ed at the Bangkok Post makes some useful points:

… [Q]uestions over transparency and possible breaches of ethics have come to the fore.

… Of the total nine laws that will be sidestepped, seven were promulgated to ensure transparency and fairness in state procurement and two others involve the employment of foreigners in the project.

… The invocation of Section 44 prompts some people to compare the [General] Prayut[h Chan-ocha] project to the one proposed by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

Like it or not, it’s obvious the project proposed under the Yingluck government, which encompassed the same 256-kilometre route, seemed far better in terms of efficiency and transparency.

The Yingluck version, as handled by former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, would have cost 140 billion baht, against [G]en Prayut’s 179 billion. Under the Yingluck administration, the rail track was included in a mega-infrastructure development package and proposed to parliament for consideration….

The difference between the train project of this government and that of Yingluck’s is that the previous administration’s project was open to all legal examination mechanisms and underwent international bidding, which would provide the country with the best offer.

You get what you whistle for: a military dictatorship that is opaque, repressive and corrupt.

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