Updating ISA and medical scam

15 10 2009

There has been a spate of interesting reports today on a range of subjects. In this post PPT updates two stories we have been following, the repeated use of the Internal Security Act and the corruption allegations involving the government’s stimulus package.

Internal Security Act overkill: In a recent post PPT asked why it was that the Internal Security Act was being used in Bangkok for a red shirt rally. We pointed out some inconsistencies. Now we are told that the Democrat Party-led government is deploying 18,000 security force personnel in Bangkok and a similar number in Hua Hin, where the ASEAN summit is located ( Bangkok Post, 15 October 2009: “Massive summit force gets nod”).

An earlier report in the Bangkok Post states that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban,” who is in charge of security affairs, was assigned to be director of the Bangkok peace-keeping command.” He said” 6,000 police, 10,000 soldiers and 2,000 civilian volunteers will be deployed … from Oct 15 to Oct 25 in the wake of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD)’s plan to rally on Oct 17 and hold a no-confidence debate against the government outside parliament.”

“Civilian volunteers”? PPT wonders who this might be? Right-wing vigilantes  or something less threatening?

Suthep stated that “Attention will be given specially to Government House, parliament and Chitrlada Palace.”

That’s a total of 36,000 security personnel mobilized. Even leaving aside the questions of human rights and intimidation, this is clearly way, way more than would be reasonable for controlling a rally that the government estimates will be “about 10,000 people.”

The Post says this is to “ensure peace and order.” The government is not expecting the planned rally to be violent. So why this huge number of police and military? Is the government wasting money or does it have “intelligence reports”? Why are 2 security personnel required for each expected demonstrator?

PPT has no answers that we haven’t given before.However, this kind of mobilization is suspiciously large. If we were being really cynical and conspiratorial, we’d be tempted to link to an earlier post.

Corruption in MOPH procurement: The Nation (15 October 2009: “Witthaya’s new committee to study medical equipment scam”) reports that Public Health Minister Witthaya Kaewparadai has “decided to set up a new independent committee with members from outside the ministry, to probe irregularities in the procurement of medical equipment under the Bt86-billion Thai Khemkhaeng package.”

Witthaya said he “decided to set up the new independent committee after being criticised over an announcement yesterday – by the ministry’s fact finding committee led by Dr Seri Hongyok – that some senior health officials had been involved in the scandal.”

PPT wonders why an independent committee has taken so long to be established? We also observe that new committee will be led by former Bangkok senator and one-time but short-term police chief, Police General Pratin Santiprabhob. He was a leading anti-Thaksin critic prior to the coup and was a PAD supporter.  Stacking the committee, perhaps?

The Rural Doctors Society’s has expressed some reservations on this appointment and “questioned whether his relationship with the Democrat Party would influence his approach to the investigation.” It also criticized “the ministry’s announcement on October 13, revealing that a retired senior health official and senior health official were involved in the scandal, was not fair as politicians were also involved in the purchase irregularities.”

Pratin of course dismisses any allegation against him and potential favoritism. Yes, he “accepted he knew people among the Democrats as well as in other political parties.” He said: “Don’t question me about my work before you see the results of the investigation…”.

Sounds like a cover-up is planned.


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15 10 2009
Continuing updates: Rumors of the king’s demise « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Take Action New: Updating ISA and medical scam […]

15 10 2009
อัพเดทๆ: ข่าวลือว่ากษัตริย์ทรงสิ้นพระชนม์ « Liberal Thai

[…] กองทัพจะต้องเตรียมพร้อมและอาจจะพร้อมแล้วก็ได้ ในระยะสั้น […]

16 10 2009
New: The king’s health rumors are part of a political plot « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] got it already, the linking here is an accusation against the red shirts. As an aside, PPT has commented on the use of the ISA elsewhere and has seen no evidence of any red shirt leader calling for demonstrations in Hua […]

17 10 2009
ข่าวลือเรื่องพระพลานามัยของกษัตริย์ ถูกหาว่าเป็นแผนทางการเมือง « Liberal Thai

[…] สามารถติดตามต่อได้ที่นี่ ในการกล่าวหาเสื้อแดง […]

3 07 2012
Democrat Party MP: Parliamentary control worse than a coup « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] When he did, the investigating committee quickly found corruption and claimed that politicians and senior officials had been involved in unusual procurement of medical equipment under the Thai Khemkhaeng stimulus package. This included budget allocations for hospital construction skewed in favor of some politicians’ constituencies and unnecessary procurement plans. […]

3 07 2012
Democrat Party MP: Parliamentary control worse than a coup « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] When he did, the investigating committee quickly found corruption and claimed that politicians and senior officials had been involved in unusual procurement of medical equipment under the Thai Khemkhaeng stimulus package. This included budget allocations for hospital construction skewed in favor of some politicians’ constituencies and unnecessary procurement plans. […]




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