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No surprise in Thai PM surviving no-confidence motion

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No surprise in Thai PM surviving no-confidence motion | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and 9 cabinet members have unsuprisingly survived a no-confidence censure motion today in court after 3 days of intense debates. The opposition, who filed the motion, sharply criticised the PM’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the subsequent vaccination programme and alleged systematic corruption.

The Minister of Education received the least amount of support in parliament after student protesters criticised him, saying he failed to improve and reform Thailand’s education system.

The Move Forward party highlighted corruption in the police force with the party MP alleging that top government officials have created a secret list that gives certain policemen preferential treatment.

The vaccination programme was also criticised by the opposition, saying its reliance on just 1 firm to produce the vaccine locally is slowing down the process. Additionally, the firm selected to produce the vaccine, Siam Bioscience, is wholly owned by the Crown Property Bureau. And, the Crown Property Bureau has been taken over by HM King Bhumiphol.

Meanwhile, vaccine distribution methods have been mulled as critics say poorer residents could suffer if local municipalities use their own funds to purchase and administer the jabs. Critics say many local municipalities who offer to fund the vaccines may have alterior political motives. Interestingly enough, local elections are just around the corner, with some candidates possibly offering free vaccines with the hopes of boosting votes.

As for the questioning over PM Prayut’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, critics say his use of the Emergency Decree was politically motivated, attempting to gain more power legally while protests heated up nationwide. Such powers asserted under the decree have allowed the government to issue curfews and bans on large gatherings, which include political ones.

The ability to arrest demonstrators based on breaking this law has been exercised with even some minor students being charged with violating the Emergency Decree. Arrests were also made under the Lese Majeste law, gaining widespread criticism internationally along with human rights groups weighing in on the matter.

Arun Saronchai, a Thai political analyst, said before the debates, that the government had all the numbers.

“The major coalition partners have all benefited from their time in government whether personally or politically.”

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Perhaps politicians fail to see that their political antics and attempts at “one upmanship” at a time when the people want economic certainty and a vaccination program that is fair, fast and comprehensive, may find themselves out of power at the next general election. Thailand has had the benefit of seeing how other countries are rolling out their vaccination programs. So it shouldn’t need a three month (all expenses paid) seminar to come up with a plan. Delays due to politics will be viewed very dimly by the people.

    Remember…Winston Churchill was voted out of office in the first general election after World War 2.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    No surprises at all – the conclusion was obvious and inevitable given the numbers, and even the opposition said that before the censure debate.

    Censure debates can only be held once a year, so this was held at the first opportunity after the February 2020 debate – some suggestions are that rather than blowing their chance at the first opportunity the opposition would have done better to wait until things had got worse, such as the delays with the vaccine roll out and the economy, and then the opposition might have stood more chance of swinging some votes.

    • Avatar

      Bill

      Monday, February 22, 2021 at 3:43 am

      ij is a pos.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Oh I forgot…this is a Military Junta, not a Democracy (not a real one anyway). So of course the PM survived the no confidence motion. He will survived any kind of motion. It will be interesting to see what happens when vaccination is widespread and the pandemic is over…..

    • Avatar

      Slugger

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 3:26 pm

      I’ll tell you what will happen – nothing. They are buch of raggy kids shouting at the behest of the Americans, who love unrest anywhere, and they’ve shot their bolt.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 3:31 pm

      He would have survived anyway, Jason.

      He got to be PM courtesy of the Senate votes, as he and the NCPO chose them, but however you play the figures the democratically elected MPs (and like it or not, the MPs were democratically elected) were the ones who voted in the censure debate and 272 voted for him and 206 against.

      It could have been a mistake for the opposition to hold the censure debate at the earliest opportunity as it can only be held once a year (the last was in February 2020), and it’s possible, albeit unlikely, that some of the PM’s coalition may have changed sides in a few months if there’s no sign of the vaccination roll out (and consequently the economy) improving but that was the opposition’s choice.

      Unfortunately, by the time “the vaccination is widespread and the pandemic is over” the next elections may have come and gone (March 2023); however bad or unpopular any leader may be, the reality is that unless there’s someone who’s more popular then they’re likely to remain in power.

      • Avatar

        Jason

        Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:13 pm

        I bow to your knowledge as a local for many years. From a distance, I had hoped it could become a real Constitutional Monarchy as we are here. Of course we will become a republic once the present monarch passes away. Maybe the King could do as his father did and make something that absolutely has to happen, a “Royal Project”. King Rama IX (my His sould rest in peace), was wise in navigating his way around political obstacles. It’s why he is still revered. Maybe His son could gain greater respect among the people by championing to cause of vaccination.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:42 pm

          I’d never claim greater “knowledge” than anyone, Jason – experience, possibly, but there’s a difference 🙂

          I think vaccines and vaccinations are going to shape Thailand’s future in a lot of ways, a lot more significantly than some people realise.

          Aus a republic? Inevitable, really.

      • Avatar

        Joe

        Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 8:50 pm

        Yes they should have waited until things got worse, but keep in mind that many in the opposition are controlled by the government, especially those from the Pheu Thai party, so maybe that’s why the censure debate is happening now before things get worse.

  4. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 3:51 pm

    Thier won’t be a thailand left in 2 years if they carry on the way they are so nothing left to vote for totally disgusting that this guy is voted to carry on destroying the country it’s all down to the people good luck to them

  5. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Obviously, he is a violent, corrupted puppet dictator under the control of the King.
    The sooner Thai people get rid of the monarchy with an old French style revolution, the better.

  6. Avatar

    Ian

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    The people really need to come out of thier homes in issan thier skyscrapers in Bangkok thier condos in pataya ,chang mai ECT and march in thier millions to show this dictatorship they have had enough until this happens the monarchy,the dictator and his cronies will not do anything if the king is a king of his people now his the time to show it and gain what bit of respect he may have left

  7. Avatar

    Remy Martin

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 5:23 pm

    Its clear to see nobody here has any experience in politics

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 5:05 pm

      I have. I have voted a few times . . .

  8. Avatar

    Joe

    Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Yes they should have waited until things got worse, but keep in mind that many in the opposition are controlled by the government, especially those from the Pheu Thai party, so maybe that’s why the censure debate is happening now before things get worse.

  9. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    This example confirms he is defiantly a dictator, but what an amateur.
    I have seen the medal and decorations he is supposed to be entitled to, and he does not display them all. And most of them are a joke! “The order of the white elephant!”
    Awarded to any government official who has been employed for five years.
    Maybe a car park attendant would be entitled to one.
    No wonder he does not display them all.
    Now Id Amin. He was a dictator.
    Medals and decorations right from his high chest to his belt.
    More decorations than a Christmas tree, What a guy!
    This Prayut Cha Cha Cha is not in the same league.

  10. Avatar

    James R

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 3:34 am

    It seems over the last number of months most comments here are from farangs living in Thailand who constantly moan and complain about the country.

    Simple solution, bugger off and go back home to your own country.

    Hang on, I have a suspicion now, ,most of the moaners can probably not afford to live back home unless they live in a garden shed etc as they have blown all of their money and can now only afford to live in a condo-land in Thailand in a small upcountry village with nothing to do but moan.

    Once the rest of us get back to Thailand for long yearly holidays the positive tone might improve as we can at least afford to live in luxury there.

  11. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    Who wants to live in the west at this time of year? Record cold in the USA, and the usual freezing winter in the UK.
    No thank you. I will stay here and moan.
    You cannot come because your are too broke to pay the reasonable quarantine fees.
    Save your money and come for your two weeks holiday when there is no quarantine.
    That’s if you have not spent all you have on heating bills.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Thailand

Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report

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Thailand classified as a “not free” country in Freedom House report | The Thaiger
October protest at the Asok-Sukhumvit intersection in Bangkok / Photo by Caitlin Ashworth

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being absolute freedom, Thailand scores at 30, a “not free” country, according to the nonprofit Freedom House. Each year, the organisation reviews the political rights and civil liberties of countries around the world. According to their recent assessment, Thailand has declined in terms of rights and liberties, dropping on the scale from “partly free” to “not free.”

The main reason for the drop on the freedom scale, the organisation says, is “due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms.”

The Future Forward Party was dissolved in February 2020 after the court found that the founder, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, had made a large donation to the party that exceeded the legal limit. The party’s leaders were then banned from politics for the next decade.

Youth-led protests started in February, but the demonstrations were put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions banning large public gatherings. Protesters gathered in July as restrictions lifted, but some leaders then faced charges for holding a public gathering, which was still banned under emergency orders.

In October, the prime minister imposed what Freedom House calls a “severe” State of Emergency order in Bangkok that banned gatherings of more than 5 people. Some protesters were arrested for violating the order nearly immediately after it was imposed.

With activists pushing for monarchy reform and an end to the military’s involvement in government, raising subjects considered taboo and unprecedented in Thai society, the Thai government has increased its use of the draconian lèse majesté law. Since November, dozens of activists have faced charges for insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

Freedom House scores countries on topics like the electoral process, questioning if politicians and leaders were elected in free and fair elections, as well as freedom of expression and individual rights.

Thailand’s military seized power in 2014 in a bloodless coup. The 2017 constitution was drafted by a committee appointed by the military’s National Council for Peace and Order. In 2019, the country transitioned to what Freedom House calls a “military-dominated, semi-elected” government.

The 2019 elections were overseen by the Election Commission of Thailand, whose members were appointed by the military. All 250 senators were appointed by the military in 2019 to serve 5 year terms.

In 2020, the combination of democratic deterioration and frustrations over the role of the monarchy provoked the country’s largest anti-government demonstrations in a decade. In response to these youth-led protests, the regime resorted to familiar authoritarian tactics, including arbitrary arrests, intimidation, lèse majesté charges, and harassment of activists. Freedom of the press is constrained, due process is not guaranteed, and there is impunity for crimes committed against activists.

SOURCE: Freedom House

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Politics

Myanmar’s representative to UN urges strong action against military after increasing violence against protesters

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Myanmar’s representative to UN urges strong action against military after increasing violence against protesters | The Thaiger

A representative to the UN for Myanmar is urging the “strongest action to be used against the military after it has used increasing amounts of violence against anti‐coup protesters. The latest round in violence occurred as riot police violently broke up peaceful protesters, arresting over 100 people in 3 major Myanmar cities.

Kyaw Moe Tun made the appeal to the UN General Assembly in New York asking for the international community to end the junta’s rule in his country, while displaying the 3 finger salute that has been adopted from the Hunger Games as a symbol of resistance from anti‐coup supporters.

“We need… the strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people, and to restore the democracy.”

Former UN ambassador for the US, Samantha Power, also tweeted her support for the movement.

“It’s impossible to overstate the risks that #Myanmar UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun just took in the UN General Assembly.”

UN envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, also agreed saying the use of lethal force against protesters was “unacceptable.”

So far, at least 5 people have been killed since the overthrow, which has seen police open fire on protesters. Thandar Cho, a street food vendor, says she saw police point their guns in a threatening manner towards apartments during the rallies.

“They beat young protesters with rods and cursed them while doing it.”

A Japanese journalist, Yuki Kitazumi, was also allegedly arrested according to a Facebook post by his assistant, Linn Nyan Htun, during the crackdown.

He “was beaten on the head by baton but he was wearing a helmet.”

The military has justified the coup by alleging that the 2020 November democratic elections, which saw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy elected by landslide, were fraudulent.

Suu Kyi was arrested, along with other leaders, and is now facing 2 charges of illegally posessing walkie-talkies in her home and for breaking Covid-19 rules. But her lawyer, Khing Maung Zaw, is concerned as he has still not made contact with her, saying it is dire to get her permission for him to represent her in court.

“It’s very important to get her signed power of attorney before the hearing starts on March 1 because we won’t be allowed to act as her defence counsels if we cannot file (it).”

“Then Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be rid of her right of fair trial without a legal counsel.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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