Jun 23

National Broadcast by General Prayut Chan-o-cha Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), 20 June 2014

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Good evening to all fellow citizens.

I would like firstly thank all sectors – be they military, police, civil servants, public officials – for vigorously discharging their duties in cooperation with the general public. For their joint efforts in driving Thailand forward and return happiness to the people. For solving vital national issues such as cost of living, crackdown on war-grade weapons, influential groups, gambling, crimes and illegal activities. And most importantly, for solving the long-standing conflict in the country.

The NCPO received exceptional cooperation from the general public and the private sector in creating an atmosphere of unity. This has been done through returning happiness activities in various forms in moving the country towards sustainable reform and democracy.

In the past week NCPO stressed upon the implementation of the affairs of state in all areas. We are aware of the need to communicate with the public in an efficient and inclusive manner by creating awareness and understanding of the people.

We need to listen to the voice of the people, respond to doubts and create a common vision. The people need to be aware of the direction in the country’s development in various areas in the immediate, short and long-term of 5-10 years. This is to achieve a common understanding, expectation and action in implementing development projects.

All important projects must engage the public through participatory process such as a public hearing. We should not proceed hastily or exclude the public from acquiring knowledge.

We will take care of all groups of people in an inclusive and equitable manner and try to bridge the income gap in society. We need to create values of self-reliance, discipline, duty, working hard and not to rely solely on the State.

We all must help to build a society which is caring, sharing, and gives opportunities to people with low income. Those with higher income should look after people with lower income. Thai people do not neglect each other by applying the philosophy of sufficiency economy of His Majesty the King, comprising the three elements and the two qualities of knowledge and virtue.

On security. In the past weeks, there were concerns about the issue of undocumented or illegal migrant workers. There were reports of a crackdown with weapons on illegal foreign workers. Many panicked and started to return to their country impacting businesses and industries in Thailand. This is a long-standing problem accumulated over the years.

It involves many parties – entrepreneurs, government officials, Thai and foreign labourers. The fact is that entrepreneurs were unable to hire domestic workers due to the high daily wage of 300 baht and the problem of workers unwilling to do difficult work. Therefore, businesses turned to hiring foreign, unregulated and illegal workers with lower wages. Smuggling of illegal workers led to problems of trafficking in persons, child labour and crimes. NCPO have to expedite the re-organization so that workers get welfare and fair treatment. And to prevent slave labour, child labour, human rights violations and exploitation by influential groups.

NCPO will reorganize the labour situation in the immediate term. Phase 1 will focus on eliminating influential groups that smuggle illegal workers. From intelligence reports they extort fees of up to 20,000 baht from each worker from neighbouring countries. The workers have to pay an additional 8,000-10,000 baht to move into the inner areas. On top they have to pay registration fees as required by law. The unregistered labourers who are on jobs at sea or on land are considered illegal workers. Their welfare is therefore not taken care of. They risk being exploited by their employers. Cases of violation of human rights, slave labour, child labour and trafficking in persons dent the image of Thailand in the international arena, thereby lowering our credibility on human rights.

For a number of illegal workers who were abused and fled the country, the same would be smuggled in to replace them. It serves the interest of influential groups. The more we tighten control through strict enforcement of laws, the more benefits they stand to gain from greater smuggling. The problem of high unregistered workers undermined the ability of the state to deal with the ensuing problems such as crime, disease, trafficking in persons and child labour. These problems have accumulated for a long time over several governments. Attempts were made to solve the problem but the situation did not clearly improve.

The international community and organizations continued to monitor the situation. The U.S. government will soon issue a report on the situation of trafficking in persons in Thailand. Our ranking may be lowered from Tier 2 watch list to Tier 3 which may have some repercussions on trade and investment of the country. So there is need for NCPO to eliminate these influential groups and re-organize the labour situation as soon as possible.

There is need to re-organize the work of the public sector to be more efficient. Integration in the work of the concerned authorities, such as security agencies, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business owners and industry associations, to determine the best measures to retain our credibility on human rights that is universally recognized.

In Phase 1, NCPO will allow registered and unregistered labourers to continue their work. We will cover the loopholes of exploitation by influential groups and capitalists. NCPO recognizes that this labour force is vital to the Thai economy. We understand the difficulties faced by businesses and have allowed those workers to remain on their jobs on a temporary basis. However, we seek the cooperation of entrepreneurs in ensuring the registration of these labourers and in complying with the laws.

We should not repeat past flaws which created opportunities for influential groups and entrepreneurs to exploit, coerce and violate human rights of those illegal workers.

In Phase 2, the Policy Committee on Alien Workers, with the Chief of Defence Forces in capacity as head of NCPO’s security cluster acting as Chairman, will re-organize the entire labour control system. This includes daily labour along the border, seasonal workers for agricultural harvests and registered yearly labour. A dedicated area or zoning could be arranged to provide orderly living space for labourers and monitoring of human rights violations.

National verification centres are to be set up in cooperation with neighbouring countries for determining migrants of unclear origin such as the Rohingyas. Reception Centres are to be set up to facilitate the importation and repatriation of legitimate workers in a safe and orderly manner. Consideration will be made to review fees incurred by workers in taking up jobs in various establishments. As for legal measures we will improve the regulations so that all concerned agencies can work more efficiently. When all the labour force is brought into the system we will be able to strictly enforce the law, comprehensively prevent trafficking in persons, crimes, drugs, disease and human rights violations.

As for the chaotic events of large numbers of workers returning to their country, intelligence reports indicated that influential groups spread rumors of a crackdown to arouse fear among foreign workers. The aim was to malign NCPO. The influential groups also anticipated that the huge number of workers returning home will give them a chance to demand charges for re-importing the workers. NCPO will suppress these movements as soon as possible.

NCPO continues to give importance to creating a correct understanding among international community and defend Thai interests on the global stage. We are careful not to impact the foreign trade and investment climate. As the core agency, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with other ministries such as commerce and labour as well as various chambers, domestic and foreign, will clarify the situation and enhance cooperation that is mutually beneficial to Thailand and friendly countries such as negotiations on pending trade agreements.

Yesterday, NCPO met with representatives from various Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand to hear comments and suggestions that would be beneficial to trade and investment. There is a positive sign that they have a better understanding of the situation and the operation of NCPO.

On the issue of Southern Border Provinces, NCPO has given top priority and has improved the work of the public sector by integrating work plans, budget and operation to provide a more unified and effective structure. We cannot solely use force in resolving the issue but military operations must be coupled with development work in order to reach out to more people. Even though NCPO have a lot of work to expedite but we assure fellow countrymen that we will press forward in resolving the issue of Southern Border Provinces in order to restore peace soonest.

On the economy, a key work of the NCPO in national administration and driving the economy focuses on improving people’s quality of life. In the past week, we have laid out policy on formulating the Budget for fiscal year 2015. Government spending has been set at 2,575,000 million baht, while income has been set at 2,325,000 million baht, resulting in a 250,000 million baht budget deficit. This is a small increase in deficit as compared to the 2014 Budget. We will of course observe strict fiscal discipline. This budget policy is aimed at benefiting all sectors and areas, increasing budget efficiency, and reducing redundancy. And to integrate the work on similar issues under different ministries such as water resource management. Working separately without systematic continuity and integration without conformity to the 11th national development plan will result in ineffective solutions to the problems of drought and flood.

We have to set a deficit budget policy to correspond to the current global economic situation and to address the need to stimulate our economy. This will result in our people having more income and better quality of life. The budget deficit is only a small increase as compared to the previous year. The global economy has not yet recovered and adversely affecting many of the mechanisms we employ to stimulate our economy such as exports, investments, and domestic consumption with a downward t rend. Thus, the plan to increase government spending will be a key measure for stimulating the economy, increasing consumption and employment, and raising people’s income. NCPO will closely follow up on this economic plan to prevent a recession.

Also, during the budget year, further increases in government spending may be considered to increase employment and income opportunities. However, the overall economic picture since 22 May 2014 has improved as reflected by the increasing number of investments. The Federation of Thai Industries has reported the Thai Industries Sentiment Index to be at 85.1, a first increase in seven months. The tourism sector is also recovering, with a rise in number of tourist arrivals.

The NCPO is expediting various plans under the budget year 2014 to benefit the general public and create a conducive environment for investment. Amongst these are the MRT Extension Project and the Dual-track Railway Project. As details for these projects have already been completed by the State Railway of Thailand and the Ministry of Transport, they are ready to be reviewed by the NCPO for impending implementation. In addition, the NCPO has policies to develop effective infrastructure systems. These include ensuring the connectivity and continuity of the public transportation system, and factoring in necessary details in the construction of MRT and BTS stations in metropolitan areas —such as parking spaces and the corresponding size of the stations in relation to customer volume.

These projects are currently under review for their transparency and efficiency by a committee set up by the NCPO. The said committee is comprised of the Bureau of Budget, the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Office of the Auditor General, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, and other relevant governmental agencies. The NCPO may consider additionally applying internationally accepted measures for the review. The assessment on transparency and efficiency will cover all phases of the projects—the terms of reference, the procurement of materials and services, the operations period, and the inspection of the work. The general public and interested parties are to be kept informed of the developments for all phases. There will also be serious regulatory and procedural reforms in the future to comprehensively prevent corruption.

In improving mechanisms of the judicial system, as well as the administration of governmental agencies, independent regulatory agencies, and state enterprises – the aim is to achieve efficiency, transparency, fairness, and accountability. For the immediate phase, the NCPO will address the pressing problems that are adversely affecting the country, in particular those in which solutions will not present a major impact on the general public. As for the next phase, we will address issues that are of concern to all sectors that have a wide impact on the general public. In this second phase, the public and all other sectors will be able to contribute through a reform council. This participatory process will continue until a government is installed after the elections and beyond to ensure an efficient, transparent, and fair system of government and administration whereby interests of all parties are protected equally.

On the improvement of state enterprises management, the aim is to increase and ensure the efficiency and transparency of operations to achieve international standards. Many state enterprises already have solid and working operations while only some have management or efficiency problems that are in need of resolving in order to increase their competitiveness in the market and be acceptable to all sides. For those in sectors such as energy and telecommunications, there will need to be a suitable ratio of shareholding between the state and the private sector. This is to truly provide consumers with suitable benefits and fairness, as well as to prevent monopolies.

The NCPO appreciates the understanding of executives in allowing for improvements on their state enterprises in order to truly benefit the country. The short-term approach is to select persons with suitable expertise, abilities, and long-time experience in the relevant business, as well as other personnel with the relevant knowledge, to carry out management, administrative, marketing, financial and security tasks. Persons with such qualifications will also be needed as directors of the relevant state enterprises, aside from the ones already occupying the position. The next step will be regulatory reforms to address obstacles which may lead to inefficient use of funds and damaging the interests of the state. These reforms will include adjusting board members’ remunerations to a suitable sum and ensuring the transparency of management and operations, as well as accountability and efficiency. The NCPO has assigned a legal team to consider ways to constructively change these regulations.

On providing relief to the people, the NCPO has approved disbursement of funds, due since the budget year 2012, to individuals in distress. These people include those affected by natural disasters and those owed compensation relating to agricultural production such as rubber. The payments will be carried out in accordance with the relevant procedures and regulations and due rights. A verification process has been set up to ensure the accuracy of disbursement. For instance, in the case of rubber farmers, the person requesting payment needs to truly be a rubber farmer and must not have trespassed and converted forest lands into rubber farms. The Ministry of Agriculture has kept a list of such farmers and the NCPO has requested it to update the list for accuracy. Approximately 6,600 million baht has been set aside to provide aid to rubber farmers in 63 provinces. As for the approximately 580,000 farmers affected by natural disasters since 2012, 5,400 million baht has been allocated.

In addition, the amount for compensating farmers involved in the rice-pledging scheme is approximately 85,685 million baht, or 93 percent of the overall budget for these payments. The pay-outs are expected to be completed by 22 June 2014. As for the longans coming from eight Northern provinces, estimated at around 500,000 tons and expected to enter the market during August to September, there are measures in place to address the issue. We will let ordinary market mechanism work freely while also encouraging the use of cooperatives systems, community enterprises, modern trade practices, purchases for sale centres, and industrial factories.

There are also measures in place to deal with the enormous amount of fruits, including rambutans and longkongs, entering the market from the eastern part of the country. These measures include distributing products to regions outside the producing areas, encouraging produce processing, focusing on quality management, and promoting consumption.

The NCPO wishes to make clear to farmers that our assistance measures will focus on means to achieve sustainability and efficiency without distorting market mechanisms. These measures include providing aid by reducing production costs, encouraging the use of technology, promoting the market, and enhancing operations management. Subsidies will only be considered when suitable, and should be viewed only as a short-term aiding measure, as they distort the market and will be damaging in the long-run. For instance, subsidizing one type of agricultural product will result in a significant number of farmers changing the type of crops they produce, leading to oversupply and falling prices.

Unscrupulous businesses could exploit the situation by raising the price of goods used as factors of production.

Corruption may take place via the importation of low-quality foreign goods, which are uncompetitive in the global market both in price and quality. Ultimately, the state will lose tremendous amounts of income, while farmers still face problems in selling their products due to oversupply.

As for the details on assistance to farmers, I would like to provide you with a proper understanding. It is a major issue of interest which affects farmers nationwide. Today we have earmarked assistance to paddy farmers for production year 2014 – 2015.

There will be two key measures to assist farmers. First are measures to reduce production costs. We received cooperation from fertilizers producers union, seed distributors, rice tractor dealers, the Ministry of Commerce, and the Ministry of Agriculture. The costs of fertilizers, pesticides, new seeds, and paddy lease rates will all be reduced thereby lowering the average production cost per rai (acre).

The second set of key measures are based on providing support for farmers in the form of credit and short-term loans of a period of not more than 1 year that does not exceed the amount of 50,000 baht per person. The NCPO will also assist farmers who borrow in this scheme by compensating the 3 per cent interest on loans for the first 6 months. The credit program by the agricultural institutes will provide credit facilities for agricultural cooperatives and groups of rice farmers in distributing and developing rice products as well as increasing production, selecting the most appropriate technology to improve farming methods, and locating adequate water supplies for rice growing. The program will also cover measures to promote marketing, provide assistance in stock management, increase access to the international market, facilitate insurance matters, as well as the establishment of a rice fund, and the establishment of a rice production institute to study and enhance rice production and distribution overall.

On the operation of the Board of Investment (BOI), we have incentive measures in promoting investment such as reducing taxes on imported machinery and corporate income tax as well as other programs to facilitate investment. The NCPO has pushed for meetings of the BOI and its sub-committees to attract investment into the country.

This past Wednesday, a BOI meeting approved approved 18 projects which had passed the scrutiny process in line with the methodology and procedure of investments criteria used in 2013. Additional guidelines set by the NCPO include the emphasis on the use of local raw materials, high technology based investments that allows for technology transfer, environmental impact, energy efficiency, and more appropriate investment proportions. Presently it is over 50 % for Thai companies. The BOI also considered the extension of certain ongoing projects and the creation of new ones altogether worth 120 billion baht, which will stimulate job creation, use of local raw materials, and generate more income for the people, both direct and indirectly. The NCPO has instructed investment promotion institutions to adapt and improve their regulations and investment approval criteria to match the standards recommended by the NCPO and take into consideration Thailand’s economic needs and investment environment in preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community.

As a matter of priority, the NCPO intends to assist the low-income population and alleviate the hardship of the people by eradicating the exploitation of this group. Such group includes motorcycle taxis, taxis, daily workers and weekly employees who have been taken advantage by the business groups and influential figures. These influential groups with ill-intentions have been using the loopholes of the law to perform their illegal activities while also extorting the low-income people. We would like to see cooperation in the re-organization process. It may be inconvenient initially.

In this regard, NCPO will improve the rules and regulations to make it more just and fair and to eliminate the influential figures and gangs regardless of colour from taking advantage of these people. A proportion of these people are civil servants or junior military officers who have long been taken advantage of. For example, to register for providing a motorcycle taxi service and obtain the assigned jacket cost over 400,000 baht. That is too much. We need to strictly regulate in accordance with the law. At the same time we have to give room for them to make their living as they also have families to feed.

As for Reconciliation for Reform, it is still in the first phase. The NCPO will act as facilitator and create a conducive atmosphere for exchanging and sharing opinion. The NCPO will not conclude or manipulate any decision.

Recently, the Reform Working Group has set up a framework and started working since 4 June 2014 by gathering synergised information from academics all over the country, searching and reviewing of more than 200 documents and research papers. These papers are widely accepted by academic and civil society groups and will be used as the data base for the next phase. We are open to receive information which can be sent through telephone, post, and website.

There are 11 major issues which have been presented as follows: 1. Corruption 2. Legislative Power 3. Administrative Power 4. Judicial Process 5. Energy System 6. Basic Infrastructure Development 7. Mass Communication 8. Education, Learning and Wisdom 9. Moral and Virtues 10. Economic and Social Differences and 11. Allocation of Land, Water and Forest Resources.

The NCPO has received constructive cooperation from interviewing experts, academics, representatives of political parties and political groups. The leaders of political parties personally gave their interview and presented their personal views. Until now, 25 persons have been interviewed and another 50 persons are expected to be interviewed later on. There will be an arrangement for the meeting of the focus group. Details on 11 major issues will be merged with the information gathered from the experts. Another 12 meetings of the focus group will be held to discuss and a consensus formed on the contextual framework to affirm the issues that all parties wish take up for reform in a sustainable manner. There will be no conclusion or any biased opinions during this phase. All this will be completed in July 2014 and this is only the preparation stage of consolidating information for the consideration of the reform panel in Phase 2.

If we do not start today, we will not understand each other and continue to have disagreements in the future. For reform in Phase 2, we should consider issues of urgency. The reform on political and judiciary, long-standing conflicts, and on other important matters raised by the public needs to be resolved within one year. If not, it will require long-term commitments. There may be a need to sign a pact for successive governments to continue the reform process. This adheres to the earlier proposals on steps for reform.

Today there are many issues that may have raised doubts and observations among the people. I just want to allay your concerns by saying that everything is progressing accordingly. There may be some conflicting views and opposition but I understand and feel with all sectors. But we reached a point where our democracy has stalled. We request for time for us all to apply our conscience and rationality in steering this country forward,

There have been rumours of people trying to gain personal benefits at the expense of NCPO. They claimed that they can arrange for positions on the Reform Council or Legislative Council or even a ministerial portfolio. I confirm that no action has been taken. Please do not believe such claims and incur loss to false favours. I reiterate that no consideration is taking place. It is not yet the time. Now is the time for returning happiness, preparation, solving matters of urgency for the country and people who faced hardship for many years.

Today, we need to listen to the voice of the people and compile all problems to the reform process in Phase 2. Thank you for all the criticisms and praise which we greatly value. Please have confidence that though we are military, we have utmost sincerity in taking the country forward without seeking personal gain. We are committed to eliminate corrupt practices.

There have been many widespread rumours among the media and the general public. They may receive inaccurate or incomplete information which only contributes to widen the conflicting views making reform more difficult. Please give us time.

Today we have decades-long problems to tackle. We cannot solve them in one day or ten days but we are trying to resolve them as soon as possible. There are comments that we have been too swift in resolving some issues and whether we are engaging in populist policies. I affirm that it is not so. We have listened to the voice of the people and come up with solutions that meet their needs.

It is not for NCPO to claim such a feat. We are only performing our responsibilities in the course of our duty. We are ready to take the country forward towards sustainable peace.

Thank you once again for listening to me several times already. I try to provide an understanding and communicate with you. In the past, we have had intermittent communication. Today, I receive comments and respond through various media channels such as on Friday broadcasts. I hope to receive your continued understanding and cooperation from all sectors of our society.

Thank you very much.

Jun 08

National Broadcast by General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Head of the National Council for Peace and Order, on 6 June 2014

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Good evening to all Thai people from all sectors who have given valuable support to the work of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in moving our country forward.

Let me reiterate that there were many reasons as to why it was necessary for the NCPO to take control of national administration since 22 May. The most important of these is because we respect democracy. Our decision was based on the fact that our three main branches of government – executive, legislative, and judiciary – were being undermined by the political situation at the time. We therefore have had to safeguard democracy. We have maintained that our efforts are to make our country stronger and ready to move towards becoming a fully functioning democratic Kingdom.

There was widespread conflict throughout all sections of the society. As we saw, this led to the breakdown of the rule of law. General laws were ineffective in maintaining internal stability. Special laws such as the Internal Security Act, an Emergency Decree, and Martial Law, had to be subsequently invoked. Independent agencies were unable to fully perform their duties and the judicial system was not working effectively. People started to lose trust and faith in the whole system. Laws were not being respected. We were thus becoming an immoral society. A society without morality, without virtue, without good governance, could not move forward. As His Majesty the King has clearly and always shown us, good governance is very important.

State officials were being controlled by corrupted individuals, political parties, and populist schemes. The country was virtually paralyzed. There were some good things, but I am only mentioning the problems here tonight. As a result, there was widespread conflict at all levels. Society, the economy, and our international relations were all being affected. We were losing trust and confidence from the international community.

We understand that we are living in a democratic world, but we must also examine ourselves to see how Thailand can be resilient in the face of the many challenges that democracy brings. We therefore need to adjust ourselves in many ways – from administration methods to the budget system, even the electoral system – the starting point of democracy itself. Checks and balances need to be improved. Parliamentary dictatorship has to be removed.

All these challenges have so far caused conflict among Thai people. We were unhappy as a nation. So I had to ask myself “how can we let this continue?” Remember that we had already tried everything to resolve the problem through peaceful means. None were successful. This situation had been going on for more than 9 years, and the past 6 months has been the most intense. There were many deaths, injuries, losses, and resulting legal trials, many of which are still unresolved.

So what we are doing today is to try and bring everything back to normal. We intend to return happiness to everyone living in Thailand, both Thais and foreigners; expand cooperation with our partners, and prepare ourselves for the ASEAN Community and AEC in the near future.

Today, there are people who agree with us as well as people who do not. That is normal. But for the future plan for national administration, I will mainly consider the criticisms to keep improving. These viewpoints will be carefully considered and analyzed. If they prove to be of benefit for the nation, I will turn them into actions. It is normal to have people who disagree with you when you take on such an important task. But please be assured that we are doing the best we can in order to achieve our goal of a fully functioning democracy which is accepted by all sides.

At present, general laws and martial law are still necessary. In the past, people were not respecting the general law. Although today we are using the highest security law, not all components are being exercised but only those that we deemed necessary. There may be some disruptions, or inconveniencies, so we are asking for your understanding. If we cannot keep the situation under control after invoking martial law, then no other laws in the world will work in Thailand. We will try to return to the use of normal laws as soon as possible, but people have to respect the law. I do not want the international community to view us as lawless people who use violence as a means to get what we want. We have to change this perception.

If these conflicts and violence continues, a successful and peaceful election is impossible. If the elections were to take place and a government was formed amidst conflict, violence, and protests, will the problem be resolved?

As for the establishment of National Reconciliation Center, it is just the first phase. It is being established to give people an opportunity to talk to each other after the prolonged conflict. NCPO will act as an observer, a facilitator. We will collect ideas from all sides as well as use information gathered by previous attempts in order to encourage national reconciliation. We welcome all sides; conflicting groups, political parties, and we will discuss all issues. We are inviting all to participate in this effort so that we can move onto the second phase – the forming of a government, a reform committee and a legislative committee.

In order to achieve reconciliation, some special activities will have to implemented including recreational and entertainment events. This is so that the people can relax and rekindle communication channels that had long been overcome by political posturing. We want to stop all conflicts. This is just the first phase. In the second phase, everything will be resolved through the law as well as the reform committee.

Many people are concerned that we may be rushing through the process. I can assure you that I am doing all I can to prevent any conflict from recurring in the second phase. If conflicts are still unresolved, the reform committee will not work. So, once again, I am asking for your understanding and support.

In the past, people only choose to receive information from the media sources that appeal to them. Some of the prolonged problems that I have mentioned may have started out more than 9 years, or 6 months ago. Some have been going on for decades without being resolved through the existing democratic process. So today we are giving an opportunity for all government officials to work for the country, for the people, and for the King. If national administration is improved in all aspects including integration of all government operations by connecting plans, budget, and people, this will reflect a good beginning. From there, smaller units will benefit. If we do not start at the top, then it will not succeed. It will not solve the problems. And the Thai people will suffer.

As for the international community, we are asking for your patience to give us time as we build our country, our democracy, a true democracy for Thai people with order and real understanding, a democracy with good governance in accordance with the philosophies bestowed to the Thai people by His Majesty the King. Everybody is equal in a society with morals, compassion, and unity. We have to look ahead and see at what is best for the people.

The NCPO has been working for only 2 weeks. We have given our priority to solving the problems concerning people with low income. We have continued the operations of all 21 ministries in accordance with the NCPO’s policies. We listened to all sides and consider all suggestions and use them as guidance. Existing procedures are reviewed, adjusted, and improved through brainstorming and discussions between government officials and the NPCO.

Projects that do not impose a large burden on the national budget system will be carried out. Corruption will be dealt with. Individuals who were found to be guilty will be prosecuted. All these will be transparent.

For security issues which fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence, the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we need to prepare for the upcoming ASEAN Community and the AEC. Today we already have set policies under designated responsible agencies. This is important in order for us to regain confidence from the international community. I have instructed all agencies to go ahead in expediting the assignments within the regulations and framework of the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board, the Budget Bureau, and the Finance Ministry. There will be an evaluation process. Projects that are not beneficial will be reconsidered. Cooperation with our partners from the public or private sectors will be continued and promoted. Cooperation between the military and people along the border areas will also be enhanced. Some of these activities have been assigned to security agencies. Some are being restructured to ensure more effective results. As for the establishment of factories and labour control, these are necessary in order to create job opportunities and discourage people from migrating to the central region or Bangkok to find work, which will lead to more problems associated with congestion and urbanization.

Security issues are very important. It is not the responsibility of the military and the police only. It is the responsibility of all people. It is the duty of all citizens. If you do not help the authorities, the problem may lead to violence and security personnel may have to use force. Everyone has to learn to look after themselves and prevent conflict between people and officials – like in developed countries where people respect the law, while security officials are there to provide safety and look after the people.

As for the development of the military, I will oversee the development process which includes personnel, structure, and equipment development. This will be in accordance with the existing plan. These are all national security issues which need to be conveyed to the international community through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.

We are also concerned with the problems of the farmers. At present, we cannot rush to sell the rice stockpiles because this will cause the price of rice to drop and lead to more corruption. This will have to be carried out with careful consideration, evaluation and inspection. The NCPO will support any efforts to inspect the rice stock if requested. Those who committed illegal actions will be prosecuted. From what I have learnt today, the price of rice per ton has increased slightly. I think it is better that we control the quantity of rice in the market and maintain the market price than if we were to flood the market with rice in stock and make the price drop. We have to be very careful. Everything has to be fair and transparent.

Concerning the Board of Investment, this is the responsibility of the economic working group. The board has to be established as soon as possible. The approval process for projects will have to be more thorough. Emphasis will be placed upon projects concerning alternative energy sources, projects that will create more job opportunities to the people, and projects that will strengthen our country.

I want Thailand to have small, medium, and large size industries that can produce high technological components of high value. We need to be more self-reliant. It is important that we learn from foreign investors and encourage them to use local materials.

The approved budget for fiscal year 2014 will go ahead to ensure progress, reduce the suffering of the people, and reassure investors. However, there must be clear rules and regulations to make sure that national interests are not compromised. The budget for fiscal year 2015 is also being considered simultaneously. It is in the process of being evaluated by the Budget Bureau and the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Board. They will be responsible for controlling national budget spending from the start. Projects with similar objectives will be combined to ensure fairness and transparency. Projects concerning public utilities will be given priority, as well as those that will create jobs and stimulate the economy.

We have established a committee to oversee the financial issues. This committee will have the responsibility to inspect the financial operations of all ministries. Any problem will be reported to the head of NCPO to prevent any mistakes. We are very careful with the national budget in order to make sure that all actions are in accordance with the law, fair, and transparent. There must be no corruption like in the past. Please do not believe it when you hear that I have been ordered or coerced by some influential figure to approve some projects. I do not negotiate or make deals with anybody. We want to change the society, so we have to set an example. Please ask me or the NPCO if you have any enquiries.

Suggestions can be made through official and unofficial channels. We welcome all suggestions and we will consider which are beneficial and feasible or which can wait for later. I value all suggestions. We also look at suggestions from the press and social media. There are probably more than 10,000 suggestions that we are trying to process and this will take some time. We might not be able to do everything at once, so we will prioritize them.

Please be confident of our intentions. We put people’s need first. Problems associated with the rice pledging scheme, agricultural productivity, taxation, and energy prices will be thoroughly checked in order to find the best solution. All solutions must be based on reason and be fair. People tend to believe what we like, what we want to believe. But sometimes we must listen to the other side, or look at the whole picture. This is why I need to receive explanations and clarifications from all agencies in order for me to see the whole picture.

The issues of energy and state enterprises are complex and need to be considered carefully. They are also connected to other issues such as tax reduction and oil prices.

Therefore we have to start by looking at the whole structure. This issue may be delayed for a while, but will continue as planned once the root problems have been located and tackled. If we reduce prices as requested without having resolved the fundamental problems, other problems will surely follow. We will have to carefully look at all aspects, including details of investors, their profit expectations, and most importantly the real benefits they bring to the Thai people.

I can assure you that the NCPO does not gain anything from this. We are here to resolve the problems, not to create more. I urge you all to be vigilant and help us stop all corruption through the use of law, and to avoid further conflict and confrontations when trying to solve our shared problems.

I understand it is very dangerous to use absolute power to resolve national economic and financial problems, especially in the long run. But the most important problems we are facing today concern energy, taxation, prices of goods, and unchecked creditor networks. All these must be dealt with as soon as possible, but with careful consideration. If we rush into things and create more problems later, we will be held accountable and criticized.

We will expedite the approval of various projects to ensure stimulate the market. Next week we will have a meeting to discuss projects which need executive approval at the ministerial level. Investments with high budgets and long-term contracts will also be reviewed. All agreements must be legal, honourable, and accepted by the Thai people.

My intention is to create unity among Thai people. People should feel that they and their properties are protected; that they live in a just and moral society – a society that does not tolerate corruption.

As for the justice system, I think all agencies involved already know their duties and the scope of their powers. However, they have to be able to perform their duties without outside pressure and influence. In the past, this was not the case and people started to lose respect for the laws and the system. The NCPO has removed these external influences so it is time to regain people’s trust and confidence.

I have touched on many issues involving many people. The curfew has been shortened, or lifted, in certain areas. We will continue to reduce the restrictions imposed by martial law as the situation improves.

Some media such as television and radio satellite stations have been known to cause and promote conflict. These are being investigated and will be closed if found to be the cause of the problems. Contracts and agreements will have to be reconsidered. I am asking for the cooperation from all media to stop promoting conflict and support us in our efforts to resolve national problems.

We have seized a large number of war-grade weapons during the past weeks. We are currently trying to locate and pinpoint the network of these weapons. We will continue this search through the information gathered and with investigations. These people were given the chance to turn themselves and their weapons in to the authorities. They have not, so now we are doing our duty. War weapons have been smuggled into Thailand through our borders. Military and police personnel can only observe certain border areas while the smugglers keep changing their routes. I take full responsibility for this matter. We need to find new measures to support and enhance these military operations such as procuring modern equipment. But we have budget contraints. Therefore we need to enlist the help of the local people to keep a watchful eye over the border areas.

On the issue of social psychology, we should give focus to supporting programmes that enhance mindfulness, education and public service, while reducing large scale permanent structures/monuments that have no use. We need to build quality human resources before building large scale and unnecessary luxurious undertakings which do not meet the needs of the people. We need to be moderate. People already have to spend a lot of time and money in travelling to receive public service. I have already given instructions that the public should have unhindered access to public services through either the existing mechanisms or new systems.

On cultural issues. We should help to reinforce the values of “Being Thai”, national pride, and upholding the institution of the monarchy. These values should be included in the school curriculum by the Ministry of Education.

On tourism, we should ensure that tourists feel safe and secure. However foreign tourists should not have a perception that they could come to Thailand to commit illegal activities as often portrayed in the movies. I am ashamed when this is portrayed in foreign films. Everyone should join hands.

On religion, everyone is free to practice any religion, which is all under the patronage His Majesty the King. Every religion teaches people to do good, but there are some who are anti-religious and have ill intentions. The responsible agencies must look into the matter.

On the development of teachers and education system, we should resume courses on history, civil duties, and morality in the current curriculum. The purpose is to instill a sense of purpose, strengthen the physical and mental state, and reinforce thoughtfulness and social responsibility. We need to encourage our citizens to build a systemic way of thinking by not thinking only in the short term basis. Think for the long term with focused and rational thinking. People in society should have a sense of generosity, sharing, not a society of abusing and defaming each other.

Tourism is an important point because it generates substantial income for the service sector. We need to push this forward.

Everyone must cooperate with each other to build a more resilient society. I think the international community will understand. We need time to work things out. We have wasted a lot of time in quarrelling among each other. It should not happen again. NCPO will not argue with those holding different views, either from internal or external sources. Everyone has their own reasons. We need to talk and resolve problems constructively.

Regarding the legal procedures, everyone has been rushing me to accelerate the cases. All the cases have come back to NCPO, be they about appointments, and abolishing of rules and regulations. I fully understand your grievances and problems as well as your distrust. Please give me time to work things out. If we do things wrong now, the problem will arise in the future.

On the three-phase Roadmap, do not be concerned and try to understand that there may be some misinterpretations. I believe my message is already clear. But the more I say the more you try to find faults. This makes it difficult for me to explain. We need to be dedicated and make sacrifices to solve the prolonged problems which have existed in Thailand for more than nine years.

International confidence on the economy is on the rise. Well known institutions have confidence in our economic state. The stock market has risen with high volume of trade. These achievements could not have happened without the cooperation of everyone.

We must devote and dedicate ourselves for the Thai people. I refer to the civil servants and NCPO who need to make more sacrifices to make up for the time that was lost while you had to work under pressure and domination from divergent groups. The people have suffered for a long time. We will deliver as promised and bring back happiness to the Thai people.

The problem of the rice pledging scheme has eased. Do not worry about the release of the rice stockpile. The Budget will proceed as planned. Necessary measures that were put in place and may have affected tourism or human rights will be eased.

We now need to tackle other issues. We have sent out teams to engage with those groups with different views. The academics who are currently not in the country have said that they will cooperate with us. I do not want to impose restrictive laws on those who are considered to be symbols of the political landscape and democracy. But you should understand the current situation. After the situation has been resolved, you may continue to engage in your activities and posit political views but should refrain from creating conflict. Forgive us if we had offended anyone in our actions.

On creating understanding of the situation, it does not rest only on the state sector, military, police or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but depends on all sectors of society. We have sent documents both in Thai and English clarifying what we are doing and the progress made to the business community. They have an important role in conveying the message to the international business community.

Of high priority is in dealing with the issue of illegal gambling, especially betting on football. The responsible agencies must tackle these issues to prevent resulting family problems. Debts must be repaid. The NCPO has never said it is alright to default on debts, including informal debts. But they must be fair. We can facilitate compromises in debt payment. I do not encourage people to resort to taking out informal loans from loan sharks. We could better control loans which were taken out from formal institutions.

There are many other issues I would like to talk about but I shall find time to do so at a later date.

I appeal to the university students, human rights groups and activists to refrain from instigating abrasive protest movements. If these movements persist, we may pursue legal proceedings. To our younger generation, you should understand that the nation needs time to improve and heal. When come to a point when we cannot move forward, we have to pause and fix our problems and move forward with hard work.

This are the main areas I wanted to convey to you today.

Delays in taxation, SME reform, and other commercial processes are in the process of being improved. All the issues that have been proposed to me, I am aware of the obstacles thanks to the consultation with civil servants, the media, and the general public. We have been able to organize our priorities accordingly and will start to improve pending issues such as national income and national spending, in particular large-scale investments in infrastructure. What is most important is who benefits from these projects. It must be the general public and not just big industry. We will need to improve our handling of social issues such public utilities, air pollution and waste disposal. All these measures will come to strengthen Thailand for the future.

Therefore let us come together to reform our country. I urge you all to join together and take the country forward and rebuild our great nation. I urge all sectors to support the NCPO and the civil servants on this country, in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation.

There have been gestures of holding 3 fingers in protest – that is fine. I have no conflict with you. But perhaps it would more appropriate if you can do this within your homes rather than in public. But how about if we all raise 5 fingers instead – 2 for the country, and the other 3 to signify religion, monarchy and the people. Raising 3 fingers is copying foreign films, but we should be proud of own identity. We can all live together in peace regardless of our differences.

All major reforms take time, but we can all work together to make this process quicker. Thank you all for giving your precious time to listen to me. I am doing my best to ease tensions during this time. I assure that we are not a threat to you or society. Those who have not committed any crimes have nothing to fear, because our aim is to bring back righteousness to all people. The judicial process will determine that in the end. Once again, thank you very much and ask for your cooperation and continued support. I believe that all Thai people understand my intentions.

Thank you very much.

Jun 05

Royal Thai Army Handed Canal Dredging Project to Government

May 30th, 2012 at Klong Sanamchai Bangkhunthien district, General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Commander-in-Chief handed the military executed canal dredging project to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Read the rest of this entry »

May 10

“Showcase” By Colonel Sutat Jarumanee

        During every April of the year, it is a time for the Royal Thai Armed Forces to conduct the annual conscription nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »

May 09

On 3rd May 2012, the Defence Minister ACM. Sukumpol Suwanatat visited RTA’s dredging site at Klong lum ma kua kuen (คลองลำมะเขือขื่น) canal.

 

 

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Mar 30

Bangkok Canal dredging project by the Royal Thai Army is 35% completed

The Royal Thai Army has divided responsibilities for the Bangkok canal Read the rest of this entry »

Nov 03

Royal Thai Army – Kitchen Car Field

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Sep 04

The Project of planting the trees, building the dams and broaden out the canal in responding to royal grace

Natural resources may be gone someday, but human’s need never end. In order to respond to their needs, they destructively consume natural resources. Simply saying that human truly catalyzes the global change in geography and environment. Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 11

Significant Progress of the Project of Majesty the Queen’s Royal-Initiated Coastal Natural Resources Rehabilitation (Artificial Coral)

As of Royal Thai Army (RTA) has supported the Project of Majesty the Queen’s Royal-Initiated Coastal Natural Resources Rehabilitation (Artificial Coral) by providing 69 obsolete T-69 tanks for the Project. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 01

Army Rapid Deployment Team for Disaster Relief Operation (ARDT)

In November 2010 and October 2011, Thailand had faced large scale of disaster caused by floods. Read the rest of this entry »

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