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Pressure mounts on Jakrapob
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    Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    IMPEACHMENT

    Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    Conflicting parties should avoid making references to the monarchy as it could be socially divisive, says Privy Councillor and former prime minister Surayud Chulanont. His remarks come as the Democrat party tries to have PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair impeached for a speech allegedly expressing doubts about the monarchy.

    Mr Jakrapob delivered his speech in English at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) on Aug 29 last year while Gen Surayud was prime minister of the coup-installed government.

    Gen Surayud said he has not met ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra since the coup. But he said he and Mr Thaksin were like brothers at pre-cadet military school, although they held different political ideologies.

    Meanwhile, the Democrat party will submit a petition to the Senate seeking Mr Jakrapob's impeachment on Wednesday.

    Democrat party spokesman Ong-art Khampaiboon said the party has gathered evidence about the minister's speech and believed he should be impeached for his remarks.

    The Democrat party earlier handed a letter to Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, asking him to look into Mr Jakrapob's attitude towards the monarchy.

    Mr Ong-art said that after the speech at the FCCT, Mr Jakrapob went to Los Angeles where he spoke in Thai to an audience on Nov 10. Mr Jakrapob's intentions behind the speeches were questionable, he said.

    Mr Jakrapob's comments reflected a hostile attitude towards the constitutional monarchy, said Mr Ong-art.

    His party wrote to the prime minister about Mr Jakrapob's conduct because it wanted Mr Samak to pay attention to the attitude and ideology of his ministers.

    Campaign for Popular Democracy secretary-general Suriyasai Katasila called on Mr Jakrapob to show responsibility for his speech.

    Mr Samak should remove the minister from cabinet and set up an inquiry into his comments, he said.

    Mr Samak had distanced himself from the matter and told the Democrat party to file a complaint with police instead

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    COMMENTARY
    Speech impediment

    By Veera Prateepchaikul

    The most controversial and disturbing of all the controversies started by firebrand PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair seems to be the long speech he delivered to the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok last August shortly after he was released from jail for his role in the violent anti-Prem demonstration.

    Of all the so-called "lightning rod" ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, Prime Minister's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair appears to stand out. In just three months, this former leader of the anti-Prem United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UFDD) has firmly established himself as a controversial figure in government.

    Even Public Health Minister Chaiya Sasomsab, who managed to make enemies of health advocacy groups and patients with his plan to do away with compulsory licensing for life-saving drugs, and Social Development and Human Security Minister Sutha Chansaeng, who was accused of not being qualified because of his doubtful educational background (he recently resigned citing health reasons), might be embarrassed for being outshone by the new kid in town.

    Jakrapob made a name for himself when he led a protest in front of the home of Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda last August. It turned violent when protesters clashed with police. The incident led to the arrest of UFDD leaders, Jakrapob included, and their subsequent detention for almost two weeks before they were granted bail.

    Shortly after being made PM's Office minister in charge of overseeing state media, Jakrapob made newspaper headlines when he suggested that Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand president Wasant Paileeklee should be removed because of alleged under-achievement when the organisation failed to make profit targets. Protests by critics and media organisations prevented the minister from having the Mcot chief sacked, for now at least.

    There were other controversies.

    In a meeting with a group of illegal community radio operators, Jakrapob told them that they would be allowed to continue their operations if they agree to toe the government line. This attempt to co-opt the community radio network was seen as contravening state policy to have radio frequencies reallocated by the National Broadcasting Board.

    Thereafter, he told state media not to report anything about coup rumours and issued a threat that those who defied him would face disciplinary action. His action was criticised as media interference which is unconstitutional.

    But the most controversial and disturbing of all the controversies started by the firebrand minister seems to be the long speech he delivered to the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok last August shortly after he was released from jail for his role in the violent anti-Prem demonstration.

    We would have been totally in the dark about Jakrapob's talk to foreign correspondents had it not been for the Democrats who took pains to get the controversial speech transcribed and translated into Thai.

    There is no doubt that the translation was politically motivated. But that is a different issue from the lecture itself by a man who now fills an important post in the government.

    As members of the public, I believe we are entitled to know what a minister thinks about our highest institution, the monarchy, and what he has to say on the subject in public.

    The title of the long lecture is "Democracy and the Patronage System of Thailand".

    I will not elaborate on the content of Jakrapob's speech, since it has already been widely distributed. Whether several remarks in the lecture are deemed lese majeste or not I have no idea, but after having read the full text I feel some of the remarks are disturbing and unpleasant.

    For example, the opening statement reads: "I just got out of Prem's prison. It is not a general jail. It's Khun Prem's jail... Who is Khun Prem, who he represents, represents him, will be a part of what we can discuss tonight..."

    It clearly reflects his negative attitude toward the Privy Council president.

    What Jakrapob discussed at length about the patronage system is totally different from the controversial remarks regarding the monarch made by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra before the coup in 2006 as the latter's remarks appeared to be a slip of the tongue, not a long lecture prepared in advance.

    By Veera Prateepchaikul is Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Post Publishing Co Ltd.

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    Jakrapob charged


    The opposition Democrat party on Wednesday filed formal impeachment charges against PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair.

    "We have filed a motion to impeach Jakrapob with the Senate speaker on two counts: for intention to abuse power and intention to breach the constitution," opposition whip Sathit Wongnongtoei said. The motion was signed by 164 MPs.

    The petition will be forwarded to the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) for investigation once the sponsors' signatures are verified, probably next Monday, said Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondech.

    The possible penalties are suspension and possible expulsion from government and Parliament.

    Part of the impeachment charges claim that Mr Jakrapob insulted the monarchy during a speech last August in English at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

    Those comments also are the focus of a separate criminal investigation. If found guilty of a lese majeste criminal charge, the minister faces a possible penalty of 15 years in prison.

    Mr Jakrapob said his comment were mis-translated, and has promised his own translation soon.

    "If the NCCC finds Jakrapob guilty, he must be suspended from duty immediately," Mr Sathit said. "The NCCC will then refer the issue to the Senate for an impeachment vote."

    (BangkokPost.com from reports)

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    COMMENTARY

    The brash pawn

    By Sanitsuda Ekachai

    The authorities have little understanding that amidst rapid social change, political complexity and instability, the crucial factor for peace is political openness and tolerance - not political censorship.

    It serves him right! That seemed to be the shared sentiment among the press when Jakrapob Penkair's bloated ego finally blew up in his face.

    No wonder. In his capacity as Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office, the maverick minister has been at odds with the media from day one, with his brash attempts to make the media the government's propaganda tool.

    Examples abound. When iTV, which was run by the pro-Thaksin management, was turned into TPBS (a Thai version of the public broadcasting service) by the coup-installed government, he immediately challenged the move by having the state-owned Channel 11 hire the embattled iTV crew, giving them full blessings to become TPBS' rival.

    Knowing the power of community radio, he tried to manoeuvre its unclear legal status by offering state patronage for any stations willing to air his government's views.

    That's not all.

    Right after he took office, he threatened to fire Channel 9's big boss Wasant Paileeklee for allegedly putting the media corporation in the red. Wasant used to work for the anti-Thaksin Manager Group.

    Later, he did sack Pramote Rathawinit, director-general of the Public Relations Department. It was seen as a revenge for the bureaucrats who supported the coup-installed government, and a stern warning for others to extract political submission.

    What got Mr Jakrapob in hot water was not his disrespect for press freedom, however. If the axe finally falls upon him it will be from his brashness, which must make his supreme political patron (read: Mr Thaksin) feel that he has outlived his use and become too heavy a political burden.

    Historian and social commentator Nidhi Eoseewong hit the nail right on the head when he said that the current political conflicts boil down to conflicts between power cliques.

    Since the conflicts have nothing to do with larger goals, he added, any deals struck by conflicting parties will not lead to structural changes towards social and political reform.

    In this power play, we can say that Mr Jakrapob is only one of the pawns that could easily be discarded so that his boss can move forward to checkmate.

    For Mr Jakrapob, the writing is on the wall.

    Amid the coup rumours with Mr Jakrapob's alleged lese majeste remarks at the centre of the storm, the top brass in the People Power party are reluctant to defend the embattled minister.

    Education Minister Somchai Wongsawat, Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law, gave a clear political signal when he reportedly said Mr Jakrapob must take personal responsibility for whatever he said.

    Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh also reported that Mr Thaksin remarked along the same lines.

    Under this political scenario, any mishap befalling the minister who wants to control the media, will not in any way translate into a more open atmosphere for the media.

    On the contrary. The state authorities have announced they are after some 20 "dangerous" websites, although it is simply impossible to suppress dissent in this age of the internet.

    This goes to show that the authorities have little understanding that amid rapid social change that entails political complexity and instability, the crucial factor for peace is political openness and tolerance. Not political censorship.

    True, the likes of Mr Jakrapob must learn that the price is indeed high for offending public sensibilities. But peace or violence often does not come from perceived threats. More significantly, it comes from our reactions.

    How can peace be possible when we believe that violence is justified for those who offend what is close to our hearts? How can democracy be possible when we cannot tolerate those who are different from us?

    What is unfolding shows that - whether or not Mr Jakrapob is soon out of the picture - the power play which uses the royal institution to boost one's political game will continue. This is good for no one. Not for the media. Not for the revered institution. And not for the country.

    Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor (Outlook), Bangkok Post. Email: sanitsudae@bangkokpost.co.th

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    COMMENTARY

    The brash pawn

    By Sanitsuda Ekachai

    The authorities have little understanding that amidst rapid social change, political complexity and instability, the crucial factor for peace is political openness and tolerance - not political censorship.

    It serves him right! That seemed to be the shared sentiment among the press when Jakrapob Penkair's bloated ego finally blew up in his face.

    No wonder. In his capacity as Minister attached to the Prime Minister's Office, the maverick minister has been at odds with the media from day one, with his brash attempts to make the media the government's propaganda tool.

    Examples abound. When iTV, which was run by the pro-Thaksin management, was turned into TPBS (a Thai version of the public broadcasting service) by the coup-installed government, he immediately challenged the move by having the state-owned Channel 11 hire the embattled iTV crew, giving them full blessings to become TPBS' rival.

    Knowing the power of community radio, he tried to manoeuvre its unclear legal status by offering state patronage for any stations willing to air his government's views.

    That's not all.

    Right after he took office, he threatened to fire Channel 9's big boss Wasant Paileeklee for allegedly putting the media corporation in the red. Wasant used to work for the anti-Thaksin Manager Group.

    Later, he did sack Pramote Rathawinit, director-general of the Public Relations Department. It was seen as a revenge for the bureaucrats who supported the coup-installed government, and a stern warning for others to extract political submission.

    What got Mr Jakrapob in hot water was not his disrespect for press freedom, however. If the axe finally falls upon him it will be from his brashness, which must make his supreme political patron (read: Mr Thaksin) feel that he has outlived his use and become too heavy a political burden.

    Historian and social commentator Nidhi Eoseewong hit the nail right on the head when he said that the current political conflicts boil down to conflicts between power cliques.

    Since the conflicts have nothing to do with larger goals, he added, any deals struck by conflicting parties will not lead to structural changes towards social and political reform.

    In this power play, we can say that Mr Jakrapob is only one of the pawns that could easily be discarded so that his boss can move forward to checkmate.

    For Mr Jakrapob, the writing is on the wall.

    Amid the coup rumours with Mr Jakrapob's alleged lese majeste remarks at the centre of the storm, the top brass in the People Power party are reluctant to defend the embattled minister.

    Education Minister Somchai Wongsawat, Mr Thaksin's brother-in-law, gave a clear political signal when he reportedly said Mr Jakrapob must take personal responsibility for whatever he said.

    Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh also reported that Mr Thaksin remarked along the same lines.

    Under this political scenario, any mishap befalling the minister who wants to control the media, will not in any way translate into a more open atmosphere for the media.

    On the contrary. The state authorities have announced they are after some 20 "dangerous" websites, although it is simply impossible to suppress dissent in this age of the internet.

    This goes to show that the authorities have little understanding that amid rapid social change that entails political complexity and instability, the crucial factor for peace is political openness and tolerance. Not political censorship.

    True, the likes of Mr Jakrapob must learn that the price is indeed high for offending public sensibilities. But peace or violence often does not come from perceived threats. More significantly, it comes from our reactions.

    How can peace be possible when we believe that violence is justified for those who offend what is close to our hearts? How can democracy be possible when we cannot tolerate those who are different from us?

    What is unfolding shows that - whether or not Mr Jakrapob is soon out of the picture - the power play which uses the royal institution to boost one's political game will continue. This is good for no one. Not for the media. Not for the revered institution. And not for the country.

    Sanitsuda Ekachai is Assistant Editor (Outlook), Bangkok Post. Email: sanitsudae@bangkokpost.co.th

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    POLITICS

    Samak refuses to sack embattled minister

    Jakrapob should have chance to offer defence

    PRADIT RUANGDIT & MANOP THIP-OSOD

    IIFA Click Here!
    Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej yesterday refused to bow to mounting pressure to remove PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair from office as he decided only to appoint a new member of the cabinet. Mr Samak came out to protect Mr Jakrapob, saying he could not act on the Democrat party's demand for him to remove the minister over a controversial speech allegedly offending the monarchy.

    Mr Jakrapob should be allowed to defend himself in court, the premier said.

    Police are currently investigating Mr Jakrapob's remarks and will then submit the investigation report to prosecutors, who will decide whether to indict the minister.

    If the court accepts the case, Mr Jakrapob will have to step down from his position, the prime minister said.

    The embattled minister's speech, delivered at the forum organised by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand in August last year, landed him in trouble as it was considered by many as an attempt to challenge the monarchy.

    The Democrat party had already handed a letter with a translation of the speech to Mr Samak, asking him to look into the allegation against Mr Jakrapob.

    Mr Jakrapob also faces pressure from the People Power party (PPP) and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to resign to bring an end to the problem. But he insists on fighting to prove his innocence, saying he had no intention of challenging the monarchy.

    In Suphan Buri yesterday, Mr Thaksin called for Mr Jakrapob to step down as minister if he cannot clarify himself over the issue. The country needed clear explanations from Mr Jakrapob because it was a sensitive issue which must not be used for political interest, he said.

    ''If Mr Jakrapob cannot make this thing clear, he should step down,'' he added.

    It was the first time that the former prime minister, whose work lured Mr Jakrapob from the Foreign Ministry into politics, had displayed his position on the minister directly to the public.

    He sent the same message, but through former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, last Thursday.

    Mr Thaksin was in the central province to visit the buffalo conservation village owned by Chart Thai party secretary-general Praphat Phothasuthon.

    But Mr Samak insisted Mr Jakrapob deserved a chance to prove his worth.

    He said the entire cabinet, including himself, faced investigations.

    He was being investigated by the Election Commission for allegedly breaching the constitution by hosting the Chim Pai Bon Pai cooking show on TV.

    Mr Jakrapob yesterday handed his letter to Mr Samak, appealing for a full investigation by the police against himself. In the letter, he insisted he was ready to be investigated and punished if found guilty.

    Mr Samak's position was in line with his promise to change only one seat in the cabinet.

    Yesterday, His Majesty the King endorsed the cabinet change proposed by the prime minister to move Chawarat Charnveerakul from deputy public health minister to be the new social development and human security minister.

    Mr Chawarat replaced Sutha Chansaeng, who quit the post due to health reasons.

    His previous post at the Public Health Ministry now belongs to Wicharn Meenchainant, a PPP MP for Bangkok.

    The Democrat party yesterday also filed a motion to seek the impeachment of Mr Jakrapob with Senate Speaker Prasopsuk Boondej.

    Opposition chief whip Sathit Wongnongtoey, who led 20 Democrats to file the motion, said Mr Jakrapob was the first minister under this administration that the Democrats had decided to seek to impeach.

    The Democrats accuse Mr Jakrapob of meddling with the work of the media and of using the National Broadcasting Service of Thailand as a political tool. Mr Prasopsuk said the documents submitted by the Democrats were expected to be examined by Monday . He will then forward the documents to the National Counter Corruption Commission.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    'I will not quit'

    Daily Xpress

    Despite the withdrawal of support from the big bosses, PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair refuses to resign

    Although increasingly isolated, embattled PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair has told an aide he will not quit in the face of controversy over a speech deemed by critics to be offensive to the monarchy.

    "He has just said he will absolutely not resign," says the aide, who asked not to be named.

    The apparent defiance came after former premier Thaksin Shinawatra further distanced himself from Jakrapob yesterday.

    Thaksin had earlier sent a similar message through former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh. But his first public statement on the controversy yesterday left Jakrapob almost completely isolated.

    While repeating that Jakrapob must take responsibility for his controversial speech made last year as a guest of the Foreign Corres-pondents' Club, Thaksin only stopped short of asking for the minister's immediate resignation.

    "I think Jakrapob is a man with [good] judgement because he always listens to public opinion. He must know what he should do," Thaksin told reporters. The former PM was speaking in Suphan Buri, where he and Chart Thai secretary-general Prapat Potasuthon met a delegation from Saudi Arabia.

    Clarity may save him

    "I'm worried for him because if he can't explain and make the public understand him, he may have to retreat," Thaksin said.

    "He will be okay if he can explain. However, the explanation has to be clear-cut. We need to understand that people are sensitive on this issue, therefore I don't want to see politicians try to involve the institution in any way.

    "The institution is above the law and we must respect it and raise it above politics. Whoever tries to exploit the institution - whether in order to attack others or gain credit for themselves - is not doing a good thing."

    Thaksin met Jakrapob briefly in the morning, apparently to discuss the potentially explosive controversy. The minister did not go to his office afterwards and his aides said he was busy otherwise.

    Jakrapob has been scheduled to accompany Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on a two-day visit to the Philippines starting today. But his name has been taken off Samak's delegation without immediate explanation.

    Ready to battle

    Jakrapob is known to have completed a translation into Thai of his speech in which he criticised the country's "patronage" system, saying it clashes with the new force of democracy.

    Another aide to Jakrapob, Jaruwong Ruangsuwan, does not believe his boss will quit. "He has great endurance, like Superman."

    But Jakrapob is running out of key supporters. Chavalit, who had been thought to be his guardian, is now toeing Thaksin's line. Samak, too, admits an investigation into the speech will be conducted and legal processes begun if there are grounds for lese majeste.

    Jakrapob seeking support from Chavalit and Thaksin is an irony in a controversy triggered by his attacks on the patronage system - which he says makes people dependent on more powerful figures.

    xtra

    victories and losses

    >> 2003: Appointed govt spokesman after performance as Apec summit television host impresses Thaksin.

    >> 2005: Unsuccessfully contests a Bangkok seat.

    >> 2006: Wins seat, but results nullified by Constitution Court.

    >> 2007: Detained for two weeks for protesting outside home of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda.

    >> 2008: Appointed PM's

    Office Minister in Samak Sundaravej govt.

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    POLITICS

    Jakrapob aims to cool tension

    PRADIT RUANGDIT & WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM

    PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair has instructed his close aide to ensure the NBT television channel airs documentaries about the royal family and their development projects, to cool off tension, a source at Government House said yesterday. The minister, who is accused of attempting to challenge the monarchy, was urged by his adviser Orn-anong Premasakul to have the NBT run the documentaries, the source said.

    In her memo dated May 14, Mrs Orn-anong said broadcasts featuring the royal family's activities and development projects would help set the record straight for Mr Jakrapob, who had become a target of a smear campaign.

    The source said Mr Jakrapob agreed with her suggestion and asked her to coordinate with NBT, which was formerly Channel 11.

    The station is run by the Public Relations Department, a state agency supervised by Mr Jakrapob.

    Meanwhile, police investigators have received a translated copy of Mr Jakrapob's speech in English, and his replies to questions, delivered at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in August last year.

    Surapol Thuanthong, deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, said the translation was made by the foreign affairs division of the Royal Thai Police Office.

    He said police investigators will also consider other translated versions, but will stick to the division's version when the case goes to court.

    Pol Maj-Gen Surapol said the investigation will be wrapped up as soon as possible.

    Mr Jakrapob, who is now keeping a low profile, has put off the planned distribution of his translation of the controversial speech from yesterday to Monday when he will also hold a press conference and says he will answer questions about the speech, in a bid to clear himself of dangerous allegations.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    Jakrapob takes days off to consider his next move

    (BangkokPost.com) - Prime Minister's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair announced that he would take a seven-day leave to listen to opinions from all around him after he faced accusation of challenging the monarchy.

    Media earlier speculated that Mr Jakrapob might decide to step down from post at the press conference held on Monday afternoon.

    The press conference was broadcasted live on NBT television station.

    "I would like to take seven-day leave starting from today. I will be listening to news and opinions from others to decide on my next move," he said.

    Asked if he would resign, he replied, "There is no reason to quit."

    The pressure for him to resign started when his speeches given at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) and in the United States last year were circulated. The speeches were allegedly considered as a challenge to the high institution.

    Earlier, Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on Mr Jakrapob to resign, saying his resignation would help reduce tension and division in the country.

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    Re: Pressure mounts on Jakrapob

    Jakrapob counter-attacks, says he was set up

    By Anucha Charoenpo and Manop Thip-Osod

    PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair announced on Monday he was taking seven days leave and immediately accused Abhisit Vejjajiva and his Democrat party of intentionally mistranslating his controversial speech on patronage with the purpose of forcing him from office.

    The embattled minister, facing accusations he criticised the royal institution in his August 2007 remarks at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand, challenged Mr Abhisit to a public debate.

    "My Abhisit should tell the public which part of my speech he considers to be lese majeste. I'm ready to go to any forum with him. Just tell me when," he said during a one-hour press conference, where he distributed four versions of the Thai translation of his speech on the topic "Democracy and the Patronage System of Thailand."

    According to Mr Jakrapob, the controversial sentences in the speech, which he says were translated differently into Thai, are: "We are led into believing that the best form of government is guided democracy or democracy with His Majesty's gracious guidance. It has a continual development of ideas and beliefs into the current situation in which I see as a clash or the clash between democracy and patronage system."

    Another is: "And this political situation will not end like the May incident in 1992. There is no one to end it because everyone is involved," Mr Jakrapob said.

    He delivered his speech when the country was ruled by a government picked by the military after the September 2006 coup.

    The country was then divided into the pro- and anti-Thaksin camps.

    Mr Thaksin, who is admired by Mr Jakrapob, later supported the People Power party which won the general election last December.

    Mr Jakrapob claimed the translation by the Democrats was aimed at causing him damage and threatened legal action against Mr Abhisit if he fails to name the translator.

    He termed the opposition's actions old-style political tactics used against "a new generation of politicians".

    Democrat executive Sirichoke Sopha said later that he was the translator and would take responsibility. He had nothing to hide.

    Mr Jakrapob insisted he was loyal to the royal family and was a political victim of the opposition.

    "Time will eventually show who is more loyal to the monarchy, me or Abhisit," he said.

    There was no reason for him to resign because he had done nothing wrong. He would spend his leave gathering more information and reviewing public and media responses to his press conference before making any further decision.

    Mr Jakrapob made clear that he would accept the "harshest punishment" if he is found guilty. "If the law proves that I am really guilty, I deserve the harshest punishment," he said.

    He referred to the police complaint laid against him by Pol Maj Wattanasak Mungkitjakarndee.

    Two weeks ago Mr Abhisit submitted the Democrat version of the translation to Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, pushing for the PM's Office minister to be removed from the cabinet.

    Mr Jakrapob said the Thai translations by Pol Maj Wattanasak and the Democrats contained misleading terms and incorrect meanings.

    Mr Abhisit refused to react to the attack by the minister.

    But Mr Sirichoke accused Mr Jakrapob of trying to confuse the public by failing to specifically point to the sentences which were translated differently and caused him damage.

    Bangkok Post

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