Quality of a Minister

From the Thai-language press: Matichon editorial: Quality of a Minister - November 17, 2005

[Wattana Muaangsuk is a traditional Thai politician who has to be included in the cabinet because of power considerations instead of finesse as a minister. Since taking over the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, he has presented a variety of out-of-touch ideas such as shining spotlights on people going into hotels on Loy Krathong and that wives should prostrate themselves before their husbands before sleeping. The Thai-language press loves to heap withering criticisms on such hapless politicians.]

Mr. Wattana Muaangsuk may have good qualities otherwise Thaksin Shinawatra may not have set him up him to be in cabinet since Thaksin 1. He used to be the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In Thaksin 2, he is a minister of Social Development and Human Security. When he was in this position, he proposed ideas that were protested from many sides in society.

A suitable name for him is “Lighting Rod Minister” because his ideas have been obstructed from all over the country. It seems he wants to send a signal to the PM to know that he is in the wrong position or sits in the wrong musical chair. If it is, Mr. Wattana dares to risk himself with the pain from the objections from the public and this is a risk for PM to consider. If PM chooses the retire him, Mr. Wattana will have no chance to present his strange ideas.

The mission of the ministry is taking care six groups--children and youth, women, old people, disabled and disadvantaged and minority groups which are a big issue and need to brainstorm by government officials, NGOs’ experience and then combine and cooperate with many ministries such as Education, Culture, Interior and Royal Thai Police, etc.

Giving out the daily idea and being criticized by society and then waiting for the PM's consideration, Wattana cancels the idea if the PM does not agree with it. This is too easy for the person who comes to govern and administrate policy.

Thaksin said and declared louder for the second cabinet to assess the ministers' work after three months. But three, then six months passed and now it will be nine months. What it is not deniable is that many ministers have no good for the people and some ministers present the idea that is not believable. These ministers focus on the micro not macro. Some are not remembered by the people.

Instead of complaining that he has to be responsible for everything, the PM should check if the ministers if good enough quality. If they have no quality or no skill, they should be removed. Because this does not only obstruct the good and skillful people, but also destroys the nation’s occasion to get development from the minister’s work.

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