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OPINION: In Thaksin's own words
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  1. #1
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    May 2009
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    In Thaksin's own words

    FORMER Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra appeared relaxed and upbeat when I met him in Dubai last week (May 26). It seems he keeps extremely busy; his private jet flies an average of 2.5 hours a day, he said. "I am hyperactive!" he exclaimed.

    Among his business interests now are gold and platinum mines in Africa. Even his cars – four of them, with four drivers – in Dubai do a lot of mileage, mainly picking people up from the airport and dropping them off. He has a constant stream of visitors, but we met alone in his gleaming chrome, black and tan living room.

    The interview was published in The Straits Times on May 28, and part of it was translated into Thai and posted by at

    A "hyperactive" Thaksin Shinawatra in his living room in Dubai. - - ST PHOTO: NIRMAL GHOSH

    Thaksin is considered a fugitive from the law in Thailand, where he was handed a two-year sentence on a charge of conflict of interest in 2008. He is now in self-exile, but has been trying to claw his way back into Thailand on the coat-tails of his still-significant popularity.

    His supporters have since joined hands with other groups and individuals who are against the army’s role in internal politics, and this "Red Shirt" movement has swelled. Successive summers of protest by the Red Shirts have been beaten back by the government with the help of the army; in the summer of 2010, the clashes in Bangkok and elsewhere left 92 dead, most of them civilians.

    At the next general election, scheduled to take place on July 3, analysts expect it to be a close race, though most opinion polls show the Thaksin-backed Puea Thai coming out ahead of the ruling Democrat Party.

    In my interview with Thaksin, we talked about his view of the army, whose support is critical to any Thai government. Thaksin was frank in his view of the armed forces, saying it should stick to its "own duties", but also spoke about a future relationship between Puea Thai and the military.

    "The army has two major duties, first to protect sovereignty, second to protect the monarchy," he said. "The military want to show their loyalty (to the monarchy) by coming out too much, but this is not good for the military and not good for the monarchy."

    He added: "I think it’s time everyone goes back to their own duties. The military must go back to the barracks and if any sovereignty issue happens, that’s their duty, not meddling in politics. In the past politicians invited the military to come out and justified it (saying) it’s about the monarchy. It’s a created story, all untrue. It’s time the military performs its duty, and the government after the election has to protect the monarchy and try to bring unity and finish all kinds of activities that are not good for the monarchy."

    Thaksin was adamant that the military and the government not interfere in each other's work.

    "If there is nothing that affects the monarchy, the military will be in the barracks and the government, the politicians, should not meddle with them, let them do their work. I still believe when Puea Thai becomes the government we will have a good relationship with the military; not (with) we under them or they under us, but we can jointly work together."

    I also asked him about Puea Thai’s proposal for a wide amnesty for those facing charges related to politics – a controversial proposal which the Democrat Party says is aimed at paving the way for Thaksin’s return.

    The former premier replied: "(If) you can accept amnesty (for those who) staged the coup (in 2006) which robbed people of power, then why not accept amnesty, why is it so strange? The amnesty will be for all. You provide amnesty for everyone to come back to normal life, and at the same time correct what went wrong in the past."

    When I told him that his political enemies say he thinks only about himself, he said: "They are afraid of me. Even when I’m not there they are losing every time."

    I also mentioned a recent remark by politician Newin Chidchob - a former Thaksin ally who crossed over to the Democrats - that neither Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra nor prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva would be prime minister after the election. The remark had caused a stir in Bangkok’s political circles.

    Thaksin’s response was: "When he (Newin Chidchob) was with me he was a different person. Now he is so big he can dictate who is going to be the prime minister? I don’t think so, I don’t think so. I think Thais have learned a lesson. All the political conflict and chaos in Thailand stems from not respecting the people’s decision."

    Franklin D. Roosevelt - The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    Thanked 640 Times in 328 Posts

    Re: In Thaksin's own words

    It should hardly be a mystery as to why the people like this man so much. His straight-talking style must be like a breath of fresh air when compared to all of the double-talking deceptive nonsense they have been hearing from the current government.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

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