- Posted January 13, 2014 by
Bangkok Shutdown: A Call for Reform and Why the Upcoming Election Won’t be the Solution for Thailand’s Democracy
Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s puppet prime minister and younger sister of convicted fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra, had called for a snap election after massive demonstrations where millions of people nationwide have gathered and protests against her ‘Pheu Thai Party’ government much controversial ‘Amnesty Bill’ , a bill which will destroy the very core essence of democracy.
If passed, the ‘Amnesty Bill’ will allow those ‘convicts’ and ‘offenders’ of corruption and criminal cases to be free from all charges, without going through the justice system or having to serve any sentences. Some of the corruption cases included Yingluck’s Rice Schemes Policy and Water Management Project, both are ongoing judiciary process, where Thailand had lost billions while Yingluck and Thaksin’s network benefits in billions. The criminal cases included the Thaksin’s supported militants and terrorists that killed hundreds of innocence victims and state officials, and the ‘Pro-Thaksin Police Forces’ and ‘Red Shirt Mob’ which used extreme violence to threaten other groups with different point of views.
The self-exiled Thaksin is using Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party government as a proxy for his own interests while Thailand suffered. Often projected as democracy champions by international media bought by hired PR firms, Thaksin is anything but democratic. A policeman by training, Thaksin spended much of his time ’following’ politicians, searching for power and business opportunities. As a businessman, Thaksin didn’t found much success until he rise to wealth in early 1990’s by dealing with a military coup leader for telecommunication contracts.
Thaksin first entering to national politics was a failure, without much done as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is believe that he then used the money from ‘insider information’ for currency trading during 1997 Asia’s Financial Crisis, to re-entered politics. By using corporate management tactics such as ‘merger and acqusition’, Thaksin was able to buy various political parties under one roof, only to have as many seat in the parliament as possible just to voted for him for premiership. He manage the party and country as his own private company, with ‘return on investment’ at hand.
With Thaksin as the Prime Minister, Thailand’s had a hard time going beyond the conflict of interests between the country and his family. During this period, he used money and close ties with the police to create the so called ‘Thaksin Regime’ , a police-state like system. Using manipulating tactics to control the voting process and vote buying through self-beneficial policies. Media control through money and forces, human rights abusion was taken to the extreme, with thousands killed and millions threaten . He also publicly stated that ‘democracy is not my goal’.
From mid-level to top-level post in cabinet and state officials, they have to be ‘chosen’ by Thaksin or ‘The Boss’ , as his followers called him. He appointed his cousin, Chaiyasit Shinawatra, as the Chief of Army, his brother-in-law, Priewpan Damapongse, as the Chief of Police, his other brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawasdi, as the Prime Minister. And recently, his sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, as the highly unqualified prime minister.
Yingluck is often criticised for her lack of qualifications, with past experiences only in her brother’s companies. She hardly done anything other than going to PR events - cutting ribbons and taking pictures, while avoid answering to journalists or going to the parliament, showing ‘no accountability’ to the Thai citizens. She is nothing more than a puppet, with much of the government being managed and operated by her convicted fugitive brother from abroad, under the Pheu Thai Party motto’s “Thaksin Thinks, Pheu Thai Does”.
Her cabinet are filled with convicts and offenders of corruption and criminal cases and those with low democratic values, such as Nattawut Saikua, a Red Shirt mob leader who ordered the burned down of Bangkok back in 2010, as the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Plodprasob Surasawadee, the Deputy Prime Minister who said that he will not have development projects on constituencies that did not voted for the Pheu Thai Party, and Kittirat Na Ranong, Minister of Treasury, who said that it is okay for him to be giving false informations to the public regarding the state of the nation’s economy.
The arrogance of Thanksin’s proxy government had reached the point beyond acceptable to the Thais, when the Yingluck-led Pheu Thai Party’s government tried to pass the ‘Amnesty Bill’, as an attempt to destroy the ‘Rule of Law’ and ‘Check and Balance System’. The bill is undemocratic in its content and the process involved. Opposition Party did not had the chance to discuss or debate, and the Pheu Thai’s member of parliament voted for the bill unusually late at four AM just to ‘get it done’.
Various peaceful demonstrations had been held nationwide by diversified groups of people against the “Amnesty Bill’, including students, teachers, farmers, businesspeople, the young and the old; and Yingluck’s government was pressured to ‘pull off’ the bill , and later dissolved the parliament. There had been no apologies from Yingluck, but instead said that it was a ‘misunderstading’ by the demonstrators. The government also supported their ‘Pro-Thaksin Police Forces’ and ‘Red Shirt Mob’ to use violence against the opposition, while their red shirt in disguised ‘Candle Lighters’, use pretentious claim to ‘protect the election’, trying to rebrand from the red shirt heavily related violence.
The snap election which planned to be taking place on February 2, is only an attempt by Thaksin and Yingluck’s network to whitewashing their way back to power. Convicted fugitive will continue to control and manipulating the country for his own interests, the corrupt will continue benefiting from self-serving policies, the terrorists will be ministers again. We are not pretesting against the ‘elected government’, but we are protesting against the ‘corrupt government’.
When the system got malfunctioned, we need to fix it. A reform is needed, it is vital to the future well-being of our country. Bangkok Shutdown will be a peaceful non-violence demonstrations, where active citizens participating in direct democracy, demanding a reform before the election. We want true democracy. ‘Democracy Beyond the Ballot’, where the people are truly equal under the ‘Rule of Law’, where the government have ‘Accountability and Transparency’, and did not try to destroy the ‘Check and Balance System’. We are not opposing the election but rather called for a ‘Free and Fair Election’ as a mean for government by the people and for the people, not just a tool for politicians to get in offices and do anything they want and distorting the values of democracy.