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    • Prayut wants to curb rival gatherings

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has voiced concern that rival political rallies by his supporters and opponents will lead to fresh conflicts, and said he has instructed security authorities to find ways to prevent such activities in the future.

    Asked by reporters if such rival rallies will lead to renewed political conflicts, Gen Prayut said he does not want to see divisions among the public.

    "People should not be divided according to the group they belong to or along the lines of old and new generations. This will not benefit the country whatsoever. We must find ways to cooperate,'' the prime minister said.

    Security officials will discuss measures to deal with similar activities in the future, Gen Prayut said.

    "No matter who wants to support or oust me, I don't want anything that will lead to violence to happen again," he said.

    Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon voiced disapproval at the next anti-Prayut run which is planned for Chiang Mai on Feb 2, warning it will only deepen social divisions.

    It would be best to join forces to solve the country's problems rather than holding such activities, Gen Prawit said.

    Commenting on a report that the anti-Prayut run in Chiang Mai will be banned, Tanawat Wongchai, the organiser, insisted it will go ahead as planned.

    Last Sunday, supporters and opponents of Gen Prayut gathered in large numbers for their respective political rallies.

    The anti-regime "Wing Lai Lung" (Run to Oust the Uncle) running event was held at Suan Rot Fai or Vachirabenjatas Park in Bangkok's Chatuchak district.

    Meanwhile, people gathered to show support for Gen Prayut at another event called "Dern Cheer Lung" (Walk in Support of Uncle) at Lumpini Park.

    Parallel events for "Wing Lai Lung" also took place in several other provinces, including Buri Ram, Phayao, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Pathom, and Nakhon Ratchasima.

    Rangsiman Rome, a Future Forward Party MP and spokesman of the House committee on law, justice and human rights, said some participants in the anti-Prayut run in Buri Ram have been summonsed by police to acknowledge charges for violating the public assembly law.

    In Nakhon Phanom, police said they were gathering evidence to take legal action against the organisers of the anti-Prayut run in the northeastern province for breaking the same law.

    Pol Col Pramote Uthakit, an investigator at Nakhon Phanom police, said rally organisers failed to seek permission in advance to hold the activity from police, as required by law.

    Pol Col Pramote said that Phisarn Bupphasiri, one of the organisers, posted on Facebook inviting local people to join the run in Nakhon Phanom municipality, which was held in parallel with the one in Bangkok.:
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has voiced concern that rival political rallies by his supporters and opponents will lead to fresh conflicts, and said he has instructed security authorities to find ways to prevent such activities in the future.


        • Prayut quashes call for 'Chan-o-cha bridge' to Koh Samui/PM not opposed to building the bridge

        The prime minister is not in favour of a government MP's suggestion that a proposed road link between the southern mainland and Koh Samui be named the Chan-o-cha bridge, according to government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat.

        But he is not opposed to the idea of the bridge itself.

        Ms Narumon said on Friday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha would not allow his first or last name to be used for bridges or other public structures.

        "I have never allowed others to use my name or last name for anything built using state budget funds," Ms Narumon quoted him as saying. "People should be remembered for what they have done, not places named after them."

        The issue came to light on Thursday when Sayant Yutitham, a Palang Pracharat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, resurrected the idea of building a bridge connecting Khanom district in the southern province with the popular tourist island.

        He also suggested it be named the Chan-o-cha bridge after its completion.

        "The bridge that I am proposing should be built to honour the present prime minister. Once construction is complete it should be named the Chan-o-cha bridge," he told a House session on Thursday.

        The spokeswoman said the prime minister was unaware of the issue. The southern MP had not consulted him on his proposal.

        However, Gen Prayut was open to the Transport Ministry making a study of the feasibility of building a bridge, and its impact on local communities and the environment.

        Tourism operators and health officials have toyed with the idea of building a bridge since 2017, to make it easier for tourists to get to and from Koh Samui and to quickly transfer patients from the island.

        Their proposal to base it from Khanom disrict would provide shortest route - an 18-kilometre-long link between the mainland and island.

        More than 2 million tourists visit Koh Samui in neighbouring Surat Thani province each year. The island can be reached by ferry, express boat or plane. Visitors have to endure long lines during public holidays.

        Mr Sayant posted a Facebook message on Friday defending his proposal, saying the main point was not the "name of the bridge" Benefits for local people and tourism were the key, he said.:
        • 'No plan' to dissolve House: PM

        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has denied that he is planning to dissolve parliament to escape the no-confidence debate expected next month.

        "There's no such plan whatsoever," he said after a meeting on state land policy on Thursday.

        The remark came after Anusorn Iamsa-ard, spokesman of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, cited rumours "made by government insiders" that Gen Prayut was looking to dissolve parliament to pave the way for a fresh election in order to avoid the censure debate.

        Mr Anusorn said the government was reaching a political dead-end as it was beset with a myriad of national problems it could not tackle.

        Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon dismissed the claim as baseless, saying there is no reason for the premier to throw in the towel because he has run the country according to the law.

        "We did nothing to damage the country. I don't know why he even bothered to pay attention [to the rumour]," Gen Prawit said.

        Suporn Atthawong, assistant minister to the Prime Minister's Office, said Gen Prayut has maintained a corruption-free track record.

        He slammed the opposition for creating the parliament dissolution rumour, which is hurting investors' confidence in the country's political stability and the economy.

        Meanwhile, a motion has been tabled seeking to remove Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves as head of the house committee on corruption.

        The motion was initiated by Palang Pracharath Party MPs Paiboon Nititawan, Sira Jenjaka and Sutha Pratheep, who accused Pol Gen Sereepisuth of acting against a committee vote at a meeting on Wednesday.

        The committee had voted 8 to 7 to drop a plan to deliberate the issue of Gen Prayut's incomplete recital of his oath of office. The petition had been thrown out by the Constitutional Court last year as the court ruled it was beyond the jurisdiction of any court to decide.

        Pol Gen Sereepisuth, however, insisted on pressing ahead, said Mr Paiboon.:
        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Prayut in Narathiwat for cabinet meeting

          Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha arrived in Narathiwat on Monday morning ahead of a mobile cabinet meeting in the province on Tuesday.

          He was accompanied on the flight from Don Mueang military airport by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda and other cabinet ministers.

          The prime minister and his encourage were scheduled to first visit the Chao Mae To Moh Shrine in Sungai Kolok municipality to meet representatives of four Chinese-Thai associations and the Islamic Association of Sungai Kolok.

          They were then to view progress in the province's development projects, visit an exhibition on medical and public health services, e-commerce and community products, and meet Buddhist and Muslim people at Wat Prachumchonthara in Sungai Padi district.

          In the afternoon, Gen Prayut was due to visit Narathiwat School in tambon Khok Takhian of Muang district to meet secondary school students participating a programme promoting opportunity in education in remote areas in the southern border provinces.

          He was then to meet Muslim religious leaders and Muslim people at the office of the Narathiwat Islamic Committee in tambon Khok Takhian.

          On Tuesday, the prime minister is scheduled to chair an economic and social development meeting of the southern border provinces ahead of the cabinet meeting at the Chalerm Phra Kiat building, Princess of Naradhiwas University.

          They are scheduled to return to Bangkok on Tuesday afternoon.:
          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Everyone's hero.


              • Govt takes heavy flak for toxic smog response


              ya think?

              my cursor was just north of BKK:
              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Thailand leaps up global democracy rankings/"flawed democracy"

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Originally posted by S Landreth View Post
                  • Thailand leaps up global democracy rankings/"flawed democracy"

                  • Just a note. USA used to be ranked between 17th and 21st (when Obama was in office - democracy) and now the US ranks at 25th (flawed democracy)
                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Prayut: Budget bill controversy will affect economy

                    The controversy surrounding the 2020 Budget Bill will certainly affect the economy because it involves government investment totalling hundreds of billions of baht, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Thursday.

                    Gen Prayut said at Government House on Thursday that the government was looking for solutions to the problem.

                    "The problem centres on investment budgets that amount to hundreds of billions of baht. If the money is not spent the economy will not improve much. So there must be other measures to compensate. Without the money, everyone will be in trouble," the prime minister said.

                    Gen Prayut said the Constitutional Court would take months to consider the voting controversy. The delay in the passage of the 2020 Budget Bill would cause problems with budget disbursements.

                    Asked if the government would issue an executive decree to borrow money, Gen Prayut said concerned authorities did not think the solution was suitable at the moment.

                    There would be alternative solutions to cope with impacts on the economy and investment, he said.

                    Fears about risks to the economy have grown since 174 MPs on Wednesday requested a Constitutional Court ruling on the validity of the 3.2-trillion baht budget for the 2020 fiscal year.

                    The fears stem from former Democrat Party MP Nipit Intarasombat's claim that two Bhumjaithai MPs cast votes in favour of the bill without being present in the House during the debate earlier this month. The Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties are both members of the government coalition.

                    The budget bill debate began on Jan 8. The House voted at the end of its deliberation of each section before voting on the entire bill in the third reading on Jan 11.

                    The 55-section budget bill sailed through the final reading with 253 votes in favour, zero against and 196 abstentions.:
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • Prayut warns 'Big Joke' to behave/Wirachai shunted for disobeying order

                      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday issued an official warning letter to Pol Lt Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn, urging him to observe official codes of conduct.

                      The warning also said that failing to observe official codes and negligence causing damage to society will warrant a disciplinary probe.

                      The move followed the sudden transfer of deputy national chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta, which was also signed by Gen Prayut early on Friday. Pol Gen Wirachai was moved for allegedly defying a direct order by national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda.

                      The transfer order was issued on Thursday after the Royal Thai Police (RTP) reportedly formed a panel on Tuesday to investigate the matter, and Pol Gen Wirachai was quickly transferred to the Prime Minister's Office to ensure a transparent probe.

                      Also on Thursday, Pol Gen Chakthip issued directives to nullify all jobs Pol Gen Wirachai had been assigned to do, including his work on intellectual property violations.

                      The transfer order was related to the shots fired at the Lexus SUV owned by Pol Lt Gen Surachate, a former immigration police chief and now a special civilian adviser to the PM's Office. The shooting took place on Jan 6, and Pol Gen Wirachai decided to help with the investigation.

                      On Jan 9, however, Pol Gen Wirachai was told by Pol Gen Chakthip to stay out of the case, but chose to defy the order. Instead he spoke to reporters and observed the examination of the vehicle. His boss had told him to wait for an investigation report from the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

                      He was also transferred for allegedly leaking a recording of a phone conversation he had with his boss. In the audio clip, which has gone viral, the national police chief was heard warning his subordinate and mentioning a person named "Joke".

                      Pol Gen Chakthip was also heard saying that a police general should not take orders from a police lieutenant general, and that Pol Gen Wirachai should not do anything that would put his integrity in jeopardy.

                      Pol Lt Gen Surachate reportedly linked the gunshots to his call for an investigation into the 2-billion-baht biometric identification system which was approved by Pol Gen Chakthip. He also demanded that the national police chief explain why those behind the shooting have not been arrested.

                      Meanwhile, well-known lawyer Sittra Biabangkerd has called on the National Anti-Corruption Commission to grill Pol Gen Chakthip about the procurement of the largely inefficient biometric identification system and plug-in hybrid petrol vehicles bought for the Immigration Bureau. He said Pol Gen Chakthip should be held responsible for the purchases.:
                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • PM: Aircraft ready to bring Thais out of Wuhan

                        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said aircraft were on standby to evacuate Thais from virus-hit Wuhan but China has not given permission, saying it can control the situation.

                        "China confirmed that it can still control the virus... Flights must be approved by the destination country first... As long as the situation is under control, they are unnecessary. Otherwise, there would be a confusion of flights from other countries," the prime minister said in Nakhon Nayok province on Monday.

                        He said he had ordered preparations for evacuation flights a month ago and teams of doctors were formed for the task. The Thai embassy in China was compiling a list of Thai people wishing to return home and planning meeting points.

                        Gen Prayut said the government had the matter in hand and further announcements would be made. Centres would be established to cope with the matter, he said.

                        Air force chief ACM Manat Wongwat said C-130 planes were ready for a possible evacuation. A flight through Laos and Vietnam to Wuhan would take five hours.

                        Senior officials were meeting at the Public Health Ministry in Nonthaburi province on Monday to discuss the proper dissemination of information on the novel coronavirus to prevent public confusion.

                        Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Monday there were 200-300 Thai people in Wuhan.

                        He was confident the coronavirus situation was under control in Thailand because transport from infected cities in China had been suspended, and eight patients found in Thailand had all caught the virus outside the country. There was no human-to-human transmission.

                        "I confirm that the infected people are under the supervision of the Public Health Ministry and no one has been inappropriately discharged," Mr Anutin said.

                        He advised people to avoid congested areas and, if they cannot, wear face masks to protect themselves.:
                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Aircraft on standby: PM

                          A team of medical staff will depart on a commercial aircraft that has been put on standby to airlift Thai citizens out of Wuhan, China, as soon as the plan gets the go-ahead from Beijing, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday.

                          Earlier plans to airlift Thai citizens out of Wuhan had been hampered by Chinese regulations which do not allow military transport planes to come in and pick up foreign nationals, the prime minister added.

                          The government has come under heavy criticism for being slow to evacuate Thais from Wuhan, the centre of the novel coronavirus outbreak which has been locked down since Jan 23.

                          Japan and the United States started evacuating their citizens on Wednesday.

                          Gen Prayut said the government will use a commercial aircraft in the evacuation, but military planes will also be put on standby in case of an emergency.

                          "We have a plan in place to bring Thais back home and we're waiting to move them out. We're taking care of it," Gen Prayut said as he observed the screening of incoming travellers at Suvarnabhumi airport.

                          He said Thai citizens currently in Wuhan are known to be healthy and are in constant contact with Thai officials. There are 64 Thai citizens currently in Wuhan.

                          The prime minister said Thailand has a good track record of handling health emergencies of this scale as he allayed concerns about further contagion.

                          He noted that China has imposed travel restrictions and intensified screening to halt the virus' spread.

                          "We're seeing what can be done and we are trying to do as much as possible without affecting relations. Above all, the health of the Thai people is most important," he said.

                          Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry is warning of a further spread after local transmission was confirmed in Japan.

                          The ministry issued the warning after a Japanese coach driver was confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus. He had not travelled to Wuhan, but drove for a Chinese tour group from the city.

                          "The spread in Thailand is possible on a limited scale," said Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control.

                          "We are closely monitoring sensitive areas with large numbers of Chinese tourists such as Chiang Mai, Phuket and Bangkok," he said, adding that screening has been expanded to include groups who have been in contact with Chinese tourists.

                          As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand remained at 14 with nine patients currently being treated at hospital.

                          Health officials in Chiang Mai are investigating the mysterious death of a 32-year-old Chinese woman at a resort in Mae Rim district.

                          The woman was found dead on Wednesday morning without any signs of foul play.

                          Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, a public health inspector-general, said the woman had travelled from Guangzhou to Chiang Mai on Jan 28 with a group of friends.

                          He said that based on initial interviews with the woman's friends, she did not appear to have shown any symptoms associated with the coronavirus infection.

                          That said, her tissue samples were collected for lab testing and doctors are planning to perform an autopsy to establish the cause of death.

                          To help curb the spread of the virus, surveillance at airports, seaports and land border checkpoints are being boosted by army, navy and air force medics.

                          Airlines are also taking measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Thai Lion Air has reportedly cancelled five chartered flights between Chengdu and Hat Yai between tomorrow and Feb 10.

                          It is also reported that the number of travellers from China at Chiang Mai airport is decreasing, even though flights between Chiang Mai and 10 Chinese cities are still operating as usual.

                          Separately, Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Prapat Pothasuthon, on Wednesday downplayed concerns about the risk of contagion from food products, saying shipments of agricultural produces and consumer goods from China have been suspended.

                          Prayoth Benyasut, deputy director-general of the Internal Trade Department, on Wednesday urged consumers not to stockpile face masks, saying the manufacturers had insisted they are only capable of making 100 million of them a month.

                          So far, he said, there is no need to limit their purchase or declare face masks as a controlled item but such measures could be considered in the future if the situation deteriorates.:
                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Landreth's hero?


                            • ^ f off peon clown
                              • Prayut tells force to push reform for efficiency

                              Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Royal Thai Police office (RTPO) to push ahead with reform of the police force and also explain to the public why it was necessary.

                              Emerging from a high-level Police Commission meeting yesterday, Gen Prayut said reform of the force is necessary to streamline the agency and increase its efficiency.

                              The prime minister said the meeting dealt with many issues including police transfers and dismissals. He also made it clear that "rotten eggs" had no place in the police force.

                              Gen Prayut said the RTPO had a duty to explain what it has done so far regarding its implementation of police reform, which is one of the government's main priorities.

                              He said the public must know what they stand to gain from reform, although the many problems faced by the RTPO would take time to resolve.

                              He added solutions to problems must be tailored based on input from the government-appointed committee on police reform and study of relevant laws, as well as available resources and manpower.

                              "Details of this need to be communicated to the people. Officials can't proceed on their own. We need cooperation from all sides," the PM said.

                              Also attending yesterday's meeting was one of two deputy national police chiefs transferred last week.

                              National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda authorised the sudden transfer last Friday of two of his deputies -- Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta and Pol Gen Chaiwat Kateworachai. Pol Gen Chaiwat was at the meeting yesterday in his capacity as deputy police chief.

                              No reason was given for the transfers although some believe it stemmed from a leaked phone conversation in which Pol Gen Chakthip apparently warned Pol Gen Wirachai not to get involved in the "Big Joke" case.

                              An investigation is ongoing into a gun attack on the car of former immigration chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn earlier this month. Pol Lt Gen Surachate linked the shooting to his opposition to a 2-billion-baht biometric identification system that the Immigration Bureau procured.

                              Pol Gen Wirachai was transferred to the Prime Minister's Office in an order signed by Gen Prayut. Pol Gen Chaiwat, meanwhile, was reassigned to work at the RTP's operations centre.

                              Pol Gen Wirachai's absence from yesterday's Police Commission meeting was noted by the press corps.:
                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Siraphob Thanthong-Knight
                                January 30, 2020, 5:02 PM GMT+7


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