More PAD criticism of Abhisit

3 12 2010

As regular readers will know, there has been a spate of criticism of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and the Democrat Party-led coalition government from elements within the People’s Alliance for Democracy. PPT has posted on this here, here and here. There has also been government criticism of PAD and its leaders, notably from Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. The government supporters in the mainstream media have also been critical of PAD. In the latter post, PPT commented on the “evidence of the curious dualism that emerges as the establishment deals with the populist PAD.”

Continuing this debate-cum-slanging match, the Bangkok Post reports on an attack by PAD’s Phipob Dhongchai, who slammed the so-called national reform and national reconciliation committees initiated by Abhisit as no more than government  image building. PPT has made the same point, and so have red shirts and other opposition figures.

As his brief Wikipedia page says, Phipob is an NGO, active since he was a student leader and a leader of the Campaign for Popular Democracy who once argued for NGOs to work with the Thai Rak Thai government of Thaksin Shinawatra. He soon dropped that line and in February 2006, he was selected to be one of PAD’s five key leaders and signed up with PAD’s royalist faction’s call for the the king’s intervention to throw Thaksin out, using Article 7 of the 1997 Constitution. Of course, the rest is history, for this all led to the 2006 coup.

Now the royalist Phipob, who also bought into PAD’s “new politics” idea of excluding the majority of people from representative politics, seems to value the people’s voice, for he criticizes Abhisit’s fake reconciliation schemes as leaving  “many voices of the people … unheard.” He made the comments at a seminar organised by the Campaign for Popular Democracy.

Phipob is right to say that the reform and reconciliation panels led byAnand Panyarachun, Prawase Wasi, Kanit na Nakhon, Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, and the Media Reform Committee led by Yubol Benjarongkit are expensive white elephants (or worse). He is right to say that they have made “little progress” and have “not made any proposals in the interest of the public, and most people did not know what they were doing…”. His comment that they are government window-dressing hits the mark also.

But his claim that “If the government wants to succeed in national reform, it should pay more attention to people’s voices…” raises questions. Why is Phipob so interested in popular voice now when he rejected it in the period from 2005, supporting anti-democratic and anti-people proposals and forces like the military and their coup and right-wing palace leading the least representative and most repressive of forces in the country? And why does he think that the government that represents these forces and a party that has never won an election in its own right should even deign to listen to the people?

Of course, PAD, like the red shirts, has splits in its leadership and several factions, so apparently contradictory relationships with the government and the “curious dualism” continues. The most recent example is seen in PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang’s statements related to the calling off of PAD’s proposed rally on 10 December. As reported in MCOT News, PAD has heeded government calls (were there other calls from the military and palace?) to postpone its proposed rally to oppose constitutional amendment.

The ever-grinning Chamlong said PAD was postponing because “it’s close the king’s birthday celebrations.”  Well, yes, but wouldn’t all the royalists in PAD and former military man Chamlong have had that date seared into their brains for donkey’s years? So that excuse is rubbish. A deal with the government in the making? Military and palace forces at work behind the scenes? Generals Prem Tinsulanonda and Prayuth Chan-ocha talking with the Chamlong? A desire to avoid having both PAD and the red shirts on the streets opposing Abhisit and his government? Or all of these?

*A footnote: MCOT is probably due for charges for getting the king’s age wrong, saying he will be 84, not 83; treason perhaps?



3 responses

27 10 2014
Yellow reform | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Pipob is a political ally of Suriyasai and a former member of the PAD leadership. […]

27 10 2014
Yellow reform | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Pipob is a political ally of Suriyasai and a former member of the PAD leadership. […]

27 10 2014
Yellow reform I | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Pipob is a political ally of Suriyasai and a former member of the PAD leadership. […]

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