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OPINION: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda
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  1. #1
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    Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    By: Veera Prateepchaikul
    Published: 13/07/2009
    Bangkok Post

    All of a sudden, the name of a faraway destination that most Thais are not familiar with - let alone have made a visit to - has hit the public spotlight. The place is Fiji, a country of more than 300 islands in the South Pacific, midway between Tahiti and Australia.

    Currently the country is ruled by a military regime led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama who led a coup to topple a democratically elected government back in December 2006. Despite a court order ruling the regime is illegal and which was eventually confirmed by the appeal court, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo restored Mr Bainimarama as the interim prime minister in April.

    So what has this little bit of history about Fiji got to do with us anyway? Well, this is the latest destination to which exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has just paid a hush-hush visit following a secret stopover probably for refuelling of his private jet in Kuala Lumpur. Deputy Interior Minister Thaworn Senneam blew the whistle on Thaksin's secret stopover in neighbouring Malaysia.

    Press reports said Thaksin was on his way to Fiji to discuss with the military regime potential plans to invest some US$200 million (6.8 billion baht) in the country in exchange for a safe haven for his time in exile.

    Why a new safe haven in Fiji in the middle of the Pacific and not the present one in Dubai which is more comfortable, more easily connected with the other cities of the world and, also, with all the fancy hotels, huge shopping malls and mansions on artificial islands in the sea that only the super rich can dream of? Was the man in exile inspired by the revival of the landmark musical "South Pacific" on Broadway in New York, featuring such timeless hits as "Bali Hai", "Some Enchanted Evening" or "Happy Talk"?

    Maybe he just wants a change from the boring Arabian desert to an exotic South Pacific island.

    I am not sure my guess is right or wong but press speculation that Thaksin is bargaining for a safe haven for exile in Fiji was promptly dismissed by Thaksin's lawyer, Noppadon Pattama, who said the ex-premier was merely exploring investment opportunities for a small project in Fiji and not a $200 million project as speculated by the media. He also denied that Thaksin had visited Tonga and Vanuatu, two other island states in the South Pacific.

    Puea Thai MP for Ratchaburi Chaowarin Latthasaksiri chimed in saying Thaksin had won a concession from the military regime in Fiji to operate a lottery in the island state. Whether this is true or just another tall story from the parliamentarian infamous for his claim of a nonexistent huge amount of gold and other treasures left behind by the Japanese imperial army in a cave in Kanchanaburi which sparked off a frenzied treasure hunt a few years back.

    But whatever the real motives of Thaksin's recent venture in Fiji, the sick irony is that while he loathed and condemned the military junta in Bangkok which toppled his government in 2006 as well as the Surayud government installed after the coup, he unabashedly is courting and embracing the military dictatorship in Fiji.

    Does Thaksin really want to invest in Fiji? Or is this just another publicity ploy to attract media attention and to seize media space?

    Has anybody closely followed up on any of the high-flying projects mentioned by Thaksin and whether they have actually been implemented? For example, the island resort project in Croatia, the gold and diamond mines somewhere in Africa.

    That makes me wonder whether the report about Thaksin's recent secret brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur might have actually been intentionally leaked to Mr Thaworn by one of Thaksin's men for publicity purposes. Knowingly or unknowingly, Mr Thaworn took the bait and blew the whistle.

    The exiled former prime minister needs to be always on the move and to make sure that his every move is followed by the media in order to remind his supporters back home that he is still alive and kicking and, above all, remains their only hope for a better future. Hence, the Fiji venture and the like serve this purpose much more effectively than the regular phone-ins which are confined to a relatively limited audience.

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Quote Originally Posted by yeows View Post
    By: Veera Prateepchaikul
    Published: 13/07/2009

    Maybe he just wants a change from the boring Arabian desert to an exotic South Pacific island.
    Fiji's beautiful beaches are pretty same as those of Thailand. Perhaps he misses terribly the latter?

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Quote Originally Posted by Marie View Post
    Fiji's beautiful beaches are pretty same as those of Thailand. Perhaps he misses terribly the latter?
    I always thought he would return to Thailand - make amends with his enemies - and salvage what is left of his life. He may do that yet - who knows - I'm sure he misses his homeland.

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Quote Originally Posted by misterA View Post
    I always thought he would return to Thailand - make amends with his enemies - and salvage what is left of his life. He may do that yet - who knows - I'm sure he misses his homeland.
    I think he misses the power and daily adulation more, though.

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    I think he is missing the Australian Tourists, Fiji is closer to Australia than Thailand.

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Quote Originally Posted by yeows View Post
    That makes me wonder whether the report about Thaksin's recent secret brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur might have actually been intentionally leaked to Mr Thaworn by one of Thaksin's men for publicity purposes. Knowingly or unknowingly, Mr Thaworn took the bait and blew the whistle.

    The exiled former prime minister needs to be always on the move and to make sure that his every move is followed by the media in order to remind his supporters back home that he is still alive and kicking and, above all, remains their only hope for a better future. Hence, the Fiji venture and the like serve this purpose much more effectively than the regular phone-ins which are confined to a relatively limited audience.
    Think I agree here.

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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Malaysia protects me because they love me: Thaksin
    By Seksanti Kanlayanawisut
    The Nation
    Udon Thani


    Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra confirmed Monday that he had stayed overnight in Malaysia and had been provided with special-branch police security.

    "My private jet stopped for refuelling in Malaysia and they sent 20 special-branch policemen to guard me. They love and care about me," Thaksin said in a phone-in to FM 97.5 Udon Lovers community radio station yesterday morning.

    This is the first time that Thaksin has been so close to Thailand since he fled last year.

    Thai authorities had said earlier that Thaksin was in Malaysia on July 4 and had left the next day for Fiji before Thai police could take action. Thaksin ended his island hopping in the South Pacific and flew back to Dubai last Friday.

    In the radio programme, host Kwanchai Praipana, a staunch supporter of Thaksin, asked the ousted PM about his thoughts on the current government's performance.

    The radio programme was also broadcast via the Internet so communities across the nation could listen in.

    During the hour-long chat, Thaksin called on his red-shirt supporters to unite and prepare for the next elections.

    "If there is an election we will have to come out in force like we did in Sakon Nakhon and Si Sa Ket, [where the by-elections were won by Pheu Thai Party], and change the direction of Thailand," he said.

    He also added that should Pheu Thai win the elections and form the next government, it would make reconciliation possible.

    Some 200 members of the Udon Lovers Club, which is associated to the radio programme, greeted the former premier, saying they missed him and wanted him to return to Thailand soon.

    "You people [Udon natives] are role models for red-shirt supporters nationwide. If I have a chance to return, I will buy a plot of land and build a house [in Udon Thani]," Thaksin told his supporters.

    Later Kwanchai said he would evaluate the response to the phone-in and added that he might ask the former PM to call again if he felt the need to defend himself.

    "For three years Thaksin has been facing accusations, and he has not been able to defend himself because the state media has shut its door on him. So, our community radios nationwide should allow him to be heard," the host said.

  8. #8
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    Re: Thaksin's Fiji venture has a probable hidden agenda

    Quote Originally Posted by Khun Don View Post
    I think he misses the power and daily adulation more, though.
    Can we include the B76,000,000,000.00 too

    Peace.

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