PPT was surprised to learn that Singapore’s “highest military award, the Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) [Distinguished Service Order (Military)” had gone to a Thai general. After all, these men are better at domestic political interventions than they are at anything military.
Singapore’s President Tony Tan conferred the award on Thailand’s Minister of Labour and former Permanent Secretary for Defence General (GEN) (Rtd) Sirichai Distakul.
Why did he get this award? Is he a war hero? Nope. A legend in Thailand’s corrupt military. Nope. Has he ever done anything warranting an award of any sort? Nope.
It seems the Singapore government has rewarded him for “his significant contributions in enhancing the defence ties between Singapore and Thailand during his tenure as Thailand’s Permanent Secretary for Defence…”.
How long did he hold this office? Exactly one year. Not much time to make any significant contribution.
So why? We can only think that it might have something to do with something else the generals do, rewarding themselves. Sirichai was, until recently, the Chairman of CAT Telecom, operating in a sector where the Singapore government fund has significant investments.