Thai Media Project – October 2008

More: Unlocking the Thai world: Thai-language newspaper headlines

Thaksin’s political game - translated and summarized from Krungthepturakij; Column: Kaeroykanmuang; October 27, 2008
Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra was begun blaming anti-Thaksin groups for his court verdict when he had released a statement blaming them to the foreign press. He makes up stories that the judge is not fair to him in order that many foreign countries will give him a helping hand. It is not strange that those countries are sympathetic on him because they know his basic accusation only. Besides, he will to fight on every battlefield to get back his seized cash totaling 7 billion baht.
Nowadays, he turns to influence Thai politics and tries to support PM Somchai Wongsawat, his brother-in-law, to set up the Constitution Drafting Committee version 3 because it is easy to prolong the Somchai-led government by amending the constitution.
It is said that Kwamjing Wannee [“The Truth Today” program broadcast on government NBT TV) is one of his political games which is his way to show his power and influence. Moreover he is ready to challenge the power of the court and create dark influence.
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Adorable? - translated and summarized from Komchadleuk; Editor Review; Page 4, October 27, 2008
A grand meeting in a sport arena-city center on November 1 is expected to gain a lot of support. [This refers to the rally on November 1 at Rajamangla Stadium.] The meeting is to be held by a bunch of Thais to present an adorable image towards the former PM, Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now refusing to accept his warrant, his bail, or the judgment that he be jailed for two years.
His "mainstays," or, in the other words, political officials, who obtain their salary from state taxes, are now doing their best to use the nation’s mass media to promote the Thaksin speech, writing a history in nation's annals by being the first citizen to condemn his motherland, state organizations and justice. These organization which he himself and followers in the first place tried to influence.
Such an action never happened in Thailand before, although some spent their years in exile in the jungle which is an uneasy environment to live in. Thaksin, on the other hand, receives the maximum benefit from the nation which enable him to live, earn a living and finally become the richest in the nation who at the same time became PM and supervised selling the nation's property for his own interest. [Perhaps a reference to the privatization of state enterprises or the Ratchada land deal]
Many people in varies careers--police, state officials, MPs--are still showing their loyalty towards him by organizing a demonstration to gain political power--all the while knowing it would affect national stability and increase the risk of battle with those who posses different political ideas.
State officials and those responsible for justice however are not practicing what they are supposed to do and ignoring the call not to insult the Thai Royal Family and justice in general. This is only because of the power of money, gained by corrupting their own motherland, and presses the nation towards political crisis cause by crooked political officials.

Civil war - translated and summarized from Krungthep Thurakit; Column: Kae Roy Karn Muang; Author: Pracha Burapavithee; October 24, 2008
As expected, Thaksin Shinawatra does not surrender in this game of power. He announced that he would make a call to the 'Khwam Jing Wanni Sanjorn' or Touring Truth today TV program, at the Rajamangala Stadium, on November 1.
It is a signal to his advocates. On his say, the People Power Party will move as many people as possible there. The stadium has a capacity of 100,000 persons. 100,000 people wearing red T-shirts will be aired worldwide. This is an announcement of a symbolic civil war.
The symbol which underlines that the red is Thaksin. Therefore, Thaksin's new civil war is different from the civil war by the Communist Party of Thailand. His battlefield is the next election, which he has to totally win like that in 2005.
Thaksin gains power with his funds, not with guns like those communists.
After the incident of October 7 and the court's judgment on the Radchada land, more and more grass-root people and mid-class people in the provinces oppose the 'mysterious power'.
Even those who experienced the civil war in the past say that this time is much more dreadful.
Therefore, Gen. Anupong Paojinda decides not to run a coup although everything is ready.
The coup d'etat on September 19 [in 2006] showed that the military cannot run political tasks and cannot resist the mass power.
Thaksin's symbolic civil war on November 1 will not only encourage his advocates, but also means that he announces a psychological war against the military.
Will Gen. Anupong take a risk and run a bloody coup? Will he be able to survive if people nationwide called him 'murderer'?
These are questions the military must answer as the opposition has already staged a new war.

Cursed land – Pojaman Ratchada - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Author: Silver Flame; October 23, 2008
I criticize the gathering of plain-clothes police officers at the Royal Plaza on the October 23rd – Chulalongkorn Day. How come officers in charge let them do such thing on the day?
On the Chulalongkorn Day, normally people will gather to pay respect to the Statue of the King Rama V. The political gathering of officers not only shows disrespect, but also destroys the tradition.
Also the Office of National Buddhism should take care of monks because lately, a large number of monks are seen getting involved in political activities and movements.
On October 23, a total of 20,000 monks joined plain-clothes police officials at the Royal Plaza. Did these monks get paid and how much did they get?
In addition, readers should not be jealous of Khunying Pojaman Shinawatra for being allowed to possess a 33-rai plot of land. The land plot is cursed. Whoever owns that land would face unfortunate experiences. Thaksin said he bought the land to build a house, but at the end, he was sent into prison. Let's see how she copes with her fate – keeping the land or loosing it.

The end of news!!! - Krungtepturakit, October 20, 2008
The end of news!!! [another reference to Commander-in-Chief Anupong's call for the PM to step down]

Lesson for dishonest politicians - translated and summarized from Kom Chad Luek; Column: Editorial; October 24, 2008
The Supreme Court decided to hand down a two-year jail term on former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for illegally purchase of a 33-rai plot of land worth 772 million baht, on Ratchadapisek Road. However, the Court acquitted Pojaman in the land purchase case as she was not a governmental official.
This is an important lesson to remind all politicians that to abuse their power to facilitate themselves and fellows is a challenge to the Asset Examination Committee (AEC), the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) and people nationwide.
During five years of being the Prime Minister, Thaksin faced many scandals. The AEC sent over 20 cases to the NCCC for investigation and send them further to the criminal court.
There are over ten corruption cases of Thaksin waiting to be settled. However, he decides to flee the England. The prison sentence for the former prime minister is expected to help stop dishonest politicians.

Get out - Thairath by Zeer, October 20, 2008
Pok pak, pok pak [the sound of the PAD clapping hands], get out , get out [referring to Commander-in-Chief Anupong's call for the PM to step down]

Conflict of interest - translated and summarized from Thairath; Editor Review; October 23, 2008
A historical judgment occurred once the Supreme Court sentenced former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to two years in jail in the Ratchada land Case after being found guilty in a land deal his wife, Pojaman Shinawatra.
Judges found Thaksin violated conflict of interest, as a government official having interest in contracts with state agencies under their supervision, letting his wife to buy those lands knowing that it would evade government to derive the best benefit from the sale.
The case is very new to Thai society since it just has been part of the 2540 Charter which gives the means to halt Thai officials using power and supervision for their families and friends. Previously these abuses were practiced widely without any consequences previously.
The judgment cleared Pojaman of all charges associated with the deal while former PM Thaksin Shainawatra was sentenced to two years in jail in the first case out of all cases against him.
The judgment too shall impact on the current turmoil political problems and is expected to be accepted widely. Government officers showed disagreement on this matter said the court has too much power over Thai politics. However the investigation power of the court is used and practiced widely in developed countries and now has been applied too in the Thai charter.
The judgment on Thaksin will serve as a reaffirmation of a new principle in Thai politics that politicians muse use their power and exercise supervision with good care without mixing their own interests with the nation’s. With intensive investigation and laws, corrupt Thai officials will be held accountable.

Tainted milk scandal - Krungtepturakit by Arun, October 20, 2008
New enemy of plant species - On the top left: So sympathy... Has the plant for a long time. [This cartoon shows a caterpillar eating the flower from the label on a Mali powered milk logo. Mali milk was one of the contaminated Chinese milk products pulled from the shelves in Thailand.]

Seriously critical report - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: Politics; Author: Political news team; October 19, 2008
Regarding the decision to continue the work of the Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat-led government without concerns for the warning of the army and suggestions for the parliament dissolution or the resignation of the Prime Minister, the ongoing tense political conflict is worsened. The Government has to face the opposition to its power both from the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the army. The October 7 clash has already ended the legitimacy of the PPP government. Despite the confirmation by the Army Commander-in-Chief that there would be no coup staged, the rumor is that the Army possibly will stop the power of the PPP by the seizure of the Prime Minister. It is the serious moment for Thai society when any possible thing can occur.

Northern and northeastern teachers lured to join the mob to pressure the court - translated and summarized from Phujatkarn; Column: Regional news; October 13, 2008
Sources reveal that the federation of teachers of the northern and northeastern teachers group are reportedly persuaded to join the gathering at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok to call for the official rank promotion from the Teachers’ Council of Thailand.
However, the source further reveals that the attempt is aimed at luring the team of academics to gather on October 21 when the criminal court’s special litigation on political office holders is to read verdict on Thaksin’s Ratchada land corruption case. The pro-government UDD (United Front  for Democracy against Dictatorship) prepares to rally to pressure against  the Court as well.

People to gather to threaten the court – PPP fears Thaksin will be jailed – Weird lying by the press about a coup - translated and summarized from Thai Post; Column: The Editorial; October 19, 2008
The People Power's Party is preparing to move the crowd to Bangkok to pressure the Court on the judgment of the Ratchada land corruption case.  
Representative from Mahasarakham province Sutin Klangsang disclosed that the current political situation really makes local residents upset. He says there is no need for the PPP to move people in to Bangkok, as they are willing to move by themselves.  
He says people are now keeping an eye on the Court's judgment over the Ratchada land case. If the judgment is not fair, people will lose their patience. 
In addition, the party's spokesman Lieutenant Kuthep Saikrajang talks about the rumor over the dismissal of Gen. Anupong Paojinda. He says that for now, the party has no plan to transfer military commanders. It believes that they can work together. 
He says that the CIC was likely to be seduced by famous and tricky Channel 3 reporter Sorayuth Suthasanajinda. At the first place, the commander was invited to give an interview on the fight with Cambodia. Anupong was not prepared to talk about politics.  
Kuthep strongly criticizes the Channel 3 for generating rumors about the possible coup. He insists that it is the PPP decision to continue to support PM Somchai as government leader and denies PPP support for deposed Premier Thaksin’s fight in the land corruption case.

Political culture should be included in political reform - translated and summarized from Thairath; Column: The Editorial; Page 3, October 14, 2008
In fact, the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E.2517 and 2540 [1974 and 1997] are the two best complete constitutions. During this political trouble, should the Constitution Drafting Assembly Issue a new constitution or not? Is this the best solution to Thai political trouble? Thai people always treat rich and powerful men with respect. The constitution becomes indeed a worthless piece of paper. Hence, if Thai politics was reformed, it should also included a reform of political culture. That culture makes people have more respect for the law and agree on other different opinions instead of disagreeing.

Political crisis and Somchai Wongsawat’s role are not that naive - translated and summarized from Matichon; Column: Wipak Hang Wipak; page 3; October 13, 2008
If compared to Gen. Chawalit Yongchaiyut and Mr. Samak Sudaravej, it can be said that Mr. Somchai Wongsawat is still inexperienced in the political world. His political path just began from the election on December 23, 2007.
However, Somchai is a lot more patient than Gen. Chawalit Yongchaiyut.
And he is a lot more flexible and tricky than Mr. Samak Sudaravej.
What is more interesting is that he was a judge.
According to Niccolo Machiavelli’s political theory (1469-1527), Somchai’s flexibility is an important point. He might not be as gorgeous as a lion, nor outstanding like a fox, but it is said that we should look at what a human does, not what he should do.
His move is realism, which is complete opposite to romanticism.
Some people could be surprised that Somchai had been selected to succeed Mr. Samak. To think this way, it means that they overlook Somchai’s position as the Secretary-General of the Justice Ministry. What must be recorded is that he got the position because of the Democrat Party. If you ask former ministers of justice, they will say that Mr. Somchai is not as inexperienced as people think.

The army to wait patiently for political problem to be solved by politics - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: Watch the Army, October 13, 2008
The Army’s reaction to the ongoing political crisis is not to side with the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the PPP government. The crackdown on October 7 is the expensive lesson that everyone must remind that violence does not bring good to anyone, but is the nation’s loss. General Anupong Paojinda, the Army Commander in Chief, expresses his stance to allow the political crisis to be solved by politics and announces that the Army is to stand with the people.  From lesson of the past dark May [1992] and the September19 coup of 2006, the Army’s urgent reaction to the situation leads to the tortured image of the politics [that the military does not want to be involved with]. Speculation is strong that the Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat-led government prefers dissolving parliament to resignation. The only way that the Army can reduce pressure from outsiders is to be patient. We therefore comment that the Army Commander-in-Chief’s reaction by not supporting coup is acceptable to the public.

Non-violent penalty is better than severe clash like Civil War - translated and summarized from Komchadluek; Column: The Editorial; October 12, 2008
Nowadays, people have the courage to stand up for fairness so the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is also a group of people which calls for truth and fairness. Last Tuesday, it was unacceptable that the police use violent tactics to disperse the PAD protesters. The government ignores the severe condition and prolongs for more time, forming two committees to find out quickly the facts surrounding the incident and to work out ways to compensate affected people and damaged properties. However people seldom agree over these details. Fortunately, they prefer a peaceful solution and dislike the violent clash. Thus the government should show responsibility, resigning or dissolving the house immediately. It is better than forming committees.

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