Our “reform” is not your reform

14 08 2015

Chairman of the puppet National Reform Council Thienchay Kiranandana is reported by The Nation, from a publicity stunt chaired by the Nation Multimedia Group’s Suthichai Yoon, as saying that “he was never concerned the military would use him.”

In fact, this is what he was asked and how he replied:

When you first accepted the invitation to chair the NRC, did you think that there was a risk you would be used by the military?

It’s not a risk, but a must, as the country had no way out. As the time came, we knew that it was such a big bet because if we didn’t do it now, how would we be able to tell our children why we didn’t do it when we had had a chance to do it for them and the country?

That doesn’t sound anything like “he was never concerned the military would use him.” But this is a kind of fairy tale, creating an impression of a “reform” process that was not directed by a military junta. Confirming tutelage he says:

I cannot put it in words, but we at the NRC know how many “orders” we have torn up. Actually, I prefer to call them “requests”.

Thienchay tries to make the “reform” process something other than the military and royalist elite’s “reforms.”

He refers to “public hearings” as if there was an atmosphere where free expression was allowed. He tries to make it a part of a legal process by stating that the “reform blueprint is not isolated, but has been placed under the constitution.” That too is a draft document that has been established and tutored by the military dictatorship. He talks about the “heated debate” on reform and elections by saying this represents the “the beginning of true democracy.” In fact, the debate is limited by the military and is mainly a discussion between the military and right-wing “reform before election” ideologues.

The extent of junta control is illustrated when he is asked about the “referendum and voting on the charter”:

They are sensitive. I will not answer.

He demonstrates how his version of “reform” requires “special powers”:

We want to see every issue placed before us for reform. You don’t have to use absolute power under Article 44 for all issues, but you may have to start working on every issue with a different set of resolutions, so we can more toward a strong democracy. That’s our goal.

When asked if “reform” and those pushing it are “addicted” to special powers (i.e. martial law, Article 44, military coup), he says:

Sometimes we may need a mechanism to help us reset the system or fix long-standing issues. If you say that is an addiction, well, if it’s in small doses, I don’t think we will get addicted.

That’s a yes.

In fact, in a related story, The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha tells the real story of how his junta’s “reforms” will be taken forward. The special powers will, in part, be a National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Commission (NSRRC) [that] … will ensure that the subsequent government continues with implementing reform plans…”. Prayuth “explained:

The future government must implement reforms and this panel would be responsible for making sure that happens. Do you think an elected government would do it voluntarily?… I don’t think they will…”. He will never trust a “politician” and most especially those who are the people’s choice.


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