Prem and the “traitor” Chavalit

16 10 2009
Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda

Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda

The Bangkok Post,(16 October 2009: “Prem admits to warning Chavalit over Puea Thai”) is reporting that the aging Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda has made a “rare move” by admitting that “he urged his former aide, [General] Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, to ‘think carefully’ before joining the opposition Puea Thai Party.”

Admitting his involvement in political activity might be “rare” but Prem has been playing politics for years.

Prem Tinsulanonda made this admission when he was interviewed, “surrounded by former and current military top brass,” after “chairing the opening of the San Jai Thai Su Jai Tai (Uniting Thai Hearts for the South) project for youth in the southern provinces at the Army Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.” As can be seen in the photo, he was accompanied on this royalist mission by another privy councilor, former general and former prime minister unelected prime minister Surayud Chulanont. In recent months Prem is not often seen without Surayud as his sidekick.

On Chavalit, Prem states: “A day before he applied to be a Puea Thai member I sent a man to tell him to think carefully…”. Prem, who claims  Chavalit as “a friend,” said he “believed he could warn Gen Chavalit about the ramifications of what he was about to do…”. Further, he claimed to have said, “I used these words ‘think carefully’ before joining otherwise it could end up as an act of betrayal against the country.”

In making this comment, Prem makes it clear how he views the Puea Thai Party and red shirts – they are traitors.

According to a related report in The Nation (16 October 2009: “Prem plays down rift with Chavalit”), Prem’s interview was prompted by comments by Chavalit who is reported to have claimed that “he was denied access to pay respect to Prem ahead of Chavalit’s ordination as a Buddhist monk last year. He also lamented that Prem scolded him as a traitor for deciding to team up with Thaksin’s political allies in the main opposition party.”

From the Bangkok Post

From the Bangkok Post

During his interview, Prem stated: “I will not make comments about politics and I will keep myself away from politics. Political problems should be left to people responsible for fixing them.”

No one believes this.

According to the Post report, as Prem was leaving the interview, he “turned to Gen Surayud and asked: Was it okay?'” and Surayud “said the Privy Council president had made a clear statement.”

In response, the Puea Thai’s Jatuporn Prompan said “Gen Chavalit need not respond to such comments and that Gen Chavalit had more ‘democratic values’ than Gen Prem,” adding that Chavalit “was not involved in a coup [in 2006].” Jatuporn urged Chavalit “not to pay a visit to the Privy Council president to avoid upsetting Puea Thai members.”

Update: We include the cartoon above from the Bangkok Post, suggestive of how the “elite” views Chavalit.



5 responses

17 10 2009
New: Prem criticized, petition delayed « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] of the Privy Council General Prem Tinsulanonda has been called out by the Puea Thai Party on his accusations that the party is somehow disloyal or traitorous (Bangkok Post, 17 October 2009: “Gen Prem […]

19 10 2009
New: Red shirts and Prem, Abhisit and red shirts « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] New: Red shirts and Prem, Abhisit and red shirts Bangkok Post (19 October 2009: “UDD takes legal action against Prem”) reports that the UDD has “filed a libel complaint with the police against Privy Council president and Statesman Gen Prem Tinsulanonda for his comments about former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh joining the Puea Thai Party.” This relates to an earlier PPT post here. […]

23 10 2009
New: Red shirts, ASEAN summit and political realignments « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] gets chided by Prem as a traitor, but still joins the party and is followed by a goodly number of former senior […]

29 10 2009
Updated: The old gang and getting Thaksin « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Prem Tinsulanonda, the aged general in charge of the king’s Privy Council was the first to attack Chavalit. The middle class media then led the way in coming to the government’s defense against Hun […]

6 11 2009
New: Crazy nationalism better that conservative monarchism against the “traitors” « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The royalist elite and PAD demonstrated their loyalty and nationalism by closing down the airports in 2008, causing billions of baht in damage to the economy and the lives of millions in Thailand and to travelers. Supported by the Democrat Party and the military, that nationalism was designed to bring down a government that was seen as Thaksin-dominated. The damage to the country didn’t matter, so long as the “Thaksin regime” was destroyed. In the end, the judiciary did the job for them. It now remains to be seen if these same groups are prepared to risk even more in their desire to defeat the so-called traitors. […]

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