Posts Tagged ‘Yingluck Shinawatra’
8/8/2012 BANGKOK (AP) — As she marks a year in office this week as Thailand’s first female prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra’s biggest boast could be about what hasn’t happened during that time: a return to the chaos that has wracked the country for much of the past six years.
Her achievement is all the more remarkable because she is the sister of the man at the center of Thailand’s long-running political maelstrom, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a military coup in 2006 after being accused of corruption and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
“From being a novice, this is a woman who has come a long way already in one year, but there’s much further for her to go for her to achieve her government’s objectives,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political science professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “And she’s also a long way from the sort of compromise and reconciliation that this country needs.”
Only two years ago, in 2010, Thailand seemed almost ungovernable as Thaksin supporters seeking to remove another government occupied a central part of the capital and two months of protests deteriorated into violence that left at least 91 people dead and more than 1,700 injured. Combat troops were used to crush the protests.
Just a year after that, Yingluck led Thaksin’s political machine to a landslide victory in a general election. She had been pooh-poohed for her lack of political experience — she was an executive in Shinawatra family businesses — but working a combination of fresh-faced charm and her brother’s enduring popularity, her Pheu Thai party won overwhelmingly. Yingluck famously vowed during the campaign to use her femininity and her empathy to ease the country’s tensions.
Thaksin’s populist policies and defiance of the traditional elite while he was in office won the enthusiastic backing of the rural poor but also the enmity of many in the urban establishment.
Friends and foes alike acknowledge that Yingluck’s main, though undeclared, task has been to keep the engine of Thaksin’s political machine ticking over while seeking arrangements for him to return from self-imposed exile. He was convicted on a conflict of interest charge by a Thai court in 2008 and fled abroad to avoid a two-year jail term.
“It’s really a tricky balancing act with very limited room to move. If she doesn’t try to bring Thaksin back, Thaksin won’t be happy. If she tries to bring him back, his opponents won’t be happy,” Thitinan said. “To still be in power after one year is quite an achievement for her.”
Thailand’s recent history shows what a delicate task this is. Preparations to bring back Thaksin were political poison in 2008 for two previous pro-Thaksin prime ministers, one of them his brother-in-law.
Anti-Thaksin ”Yellow Shirts,” whose protests in 2006 set the stage for the coup, took over the prime minister’s offices for three months and occupied Bangkok’s two airports for a week. Courts — closely aligned with the conservative royalist establishment and hostile to Thaksin — tossed both men out of office on debatable legal grounds.
Bottom-up efforts by Thaksin’s mostly rural-based “Red Shirt” supporters — street demonstrations in 2009 and 2010 — also proved a dead end.
Perhaps weary of unrest or charmed by Yingluck, the powers-that-be that put down Thaksin and his supporters in 2006 and 2008 — the military and the courts — have been kinder and gentler with Yingluck, reciprocating her non-confrontational approach.
Last month, after the Pheu Thai party tried to push through legislation that could aid Thaksin’s return, the Constitutional Court issued only a mild rebuke, forcing the effort into the slow lane, rather than a stronger option that could have caused the party’s dissolution.
Since taking office, Yingluck’s government has been implementing some of its election promises in her brother’s populist mold: tablet computers for schoolchildren, credit cards and rice price supports for farmers, tax breaks for first-time car and home purchasers, and a substantial increase in the minimum wage.
But weaknesses in her administration were exposed when devastating floods reached the outskirts of Bangkok last year, inundating factories and overwhelming entire communities for weeks. Her government’s reaction was slow, clumsy and confusing, and elicited some calls for her to step down.
As an attractive and impeccably dressed 45-year-old woman, Yingluck is often judged on her style, probably to her political advantage but to the disappointment of feminists.
“Her identity is mostly defined by her gender,” said Chalidaporn Songsamphan, a political scientist at Thammasat University in Bangkok. She noted that discussions of Yingluck’s outfits, makeup and hairstyle often overshadow her official duties, as was the case when she ventured out during last year’s floods in a pair of expensive Burberry mid-calf boots.
Yingluck’s lack of engagement with the issues of the day encourages this approach, Chalidaporn said, noting her low profile in Parliament during debates. “On several issues that seem to be significant, she had other people say or act on her behalf a lot,” Chalidaporn said.
“I still see her more as an actor in the role of prime minister than as the prime minister,” said Michael Nelson, a Thai studies lecturer at Walailak University in southern Thailand.
Ultimately, Yingluck is likely to be judged as her brother’s sister, and she has failed so far to cast off the mantle of being his proxy. The frequent trips abroad by Cabinet ministers and ruling party luminaries to consult with Thaksin leave little doubt about who is really calling the shots.
Thaksin remains the country’s “superpower,” said Korkaew Pikulthong, a Red Shirt leader and ruling party lawmaker. But he said Yingluck is no longer as politically naive as she once was.
“She is very responsive to problems of the people and is very keen to solve them,” he said. “And that’s the quality of a true politician.”
Bangkokpost,18 July 2012
Veera Somkwamkid, a coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon who are serving time in a Cambodian prison after being found guilty of illegal entry and spying, may be released soon, deputy government spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said on Wednesday.Mr Anusorn said a “positive” signal had been received that Veera and Ratree might be released as a result of improved relations between Thailand and Cambodia, particularly after the visits to Phnom Penh by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
There had been talks between the two countries over the release of the two and much progress had been made, he said.
Relations between the two countries during the first half of 2011 soured after Cambodian police arrested seven Thai political activists who illegally entered Cambodia after crossing the border near Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province on Dec 29, 2010. They were put on trial early last year.
The seven are former Democrat MP Panich Vikitseth; Kitpolthorn Chusanasewi, Mr Panich’s driver; Narumol Jitrawaratana, coordinator of the Thai Patriot Network; Veera and Ratreee; Samdin Lertbutr, a PAD activist; and Tainae Mungmajon, another PAD activist.
Five of them were later released. Veera and Ratree were detained, tried and sentenced to eight and six years imprisonment respectively on charges of illegal entry and spying. Veera had been arrested for illegal entry previously and released with a warning.
Concerning the withdrawal of soldiers from disputed land near the Preah Vihear temple by both countries and the deployment of border patrol police as replacements, Mr Anusorn said this was in response to the International Court of Justice’s order for Thailand and Cambodia to pull out their troops from the demilitarised zone, not to a demand from Cambodia.
This is to make way for observers from Indonesia to enter the disputed area soon and part of preparations for the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
All agencies concerned, including the armed forces, had confirmed that withdrawal of troops would not put Thailand at a disadvantage, the spokesman said.
Mr Anusorn said improved relations would also lead to the demarcation of the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area around Preah Vihear temple.
16 Jul 2012
SIEM REAP (Cambodia Herald) – Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to withdraw troops from around the Preah Vihear Temple and also reopen the temple’s border crossing.
The agreement came during a meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Friday which was also attended by defense ministers and military commanders.
“The troop withdrawal from Preah Vihear shows the wills of the two countries and the adoption of the International Court of Justice’s order,” Hun Sen said.
He said the two governments had also agreed to reopen the international border crossing at Preah Vihear as well as other crossings.
Cambodia is set to withdraw its troops on Wednesday while Thailand has not yet picked a date.
Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh told a joint news conference that Cambodia would pull back 485 troops, a move supported by Thai Defense Minister Sukampol Suwannathat.
AFP,12 July 2012
Cambodian troops fired shots at a passenger aircraft flying near the country’s disputed border with Thailand, believing it to be a spy plane, the Thai army said Thursday.
“The Cambodian military fired because there was a Thai passenger plane — Bangkok Airways — which could not land at Siem Reap airport because of bad weather,” said deputy army spokesman Colonel Sirichan Ngathong.
“It was misunderstood by Cambodia to be spy plane,” he said, adding that no one was hurt in the incident near the northern Cambodian tourist destination of Siem Reap.
Cambodian military at the border — the site of deadly territorial clashes between the neighbouring countries last year — confirmed troops had opened fire at an aircraft.
“It was dark so we could not see what type of plane it was. But it was circling many times and then our soldiers fired 18 shots from a machine gun, but it missed the plane because it was flying very high,” Commander Seng Phearin told AFP.
“I think a passenger plane would not fly around the border. We suspected it was a spy plane, so we fired to defend our airspace,” he said, adding the aircraft had been around 10 kilometres (six miles) inside Cambodia.
He said the incident happened at 19:00 local time (1200GMT) on Wednesday, although the Thai authorities said it occurred Thursday morning.
AFP was unable to immediately contact Bangkok Airways.
Cambodia and Thailand traded heavy arms fire over a disputed border in early 2011 under the previous Thai government, but ties have warmed significantly since Yingluck Shinawatra took power in Thailand.
Yingluck, whose brother Thaksin has remained close to Phnom Penh strongman Hun Sen since being deposed from power in a 2006 coup, is due to meet the Cambodian leader for talks in Siem Reap on Friday.
The meeting will be on the sidelines of the largest ever gathering of American businesses in Asia hosted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and attended by a score of regional dignitaries.
Written by Kham
13/07/2012 at 2:46 am
Posted in Uncategorized
Bangkokpost,26 June 2012
It would be a pity if the US National Aeronautic and Space Administration (Nasa) withdrew its request for use of U-tapao naval airbase for atmospheric studies, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
She said the cabinet agreed to forward Nasa’s request to parliament for debate, and admitted this might cause Nasa to cancel the project.
Although the Council of State, the government’s legal arm, confirmed that the request did not require parliamentary approval under paragraph 2 of Section 190 of the constitution and ministries concerned had publicly explained the benefits of the Nasa project, there was still conflict of opinion.
Moreover, the opposition feared it might affect the country’s interests.
For the sake of transparency, the cabinet decided to forward the matter to parliament, Ms Yingluck said.
“The cabinet is of the opinion that we should use parliamentary mechanisms to scrutinise the request in the interests of the country. If the scrutiny process is slow, leading to Nasa cancelling the project, it would be a pity,” she said.
The prime minister said the cabinet assigned Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul to explain to the United States and hoped that Washington would understand and respect Thailand’s decision.
Ms Yingluck said the cabinet decided not to call an extraordinary parliamentary session to consider this matter because even if that was done it would not meet the Nasa deadline for Thailand to give an answer today.
Bangkokpost, 27 April 2012
There was nothing wrong with the meeting between the prime minister and Privy Council chairman Prem Tinsulanonda, a prominent northern red-shirt activist said on Friday.
Petcharawat Watanapongsirikul, advisory chairman of the Rak Chiang Mai 51 group, was responding to criticism of Thursday’s event involving Yingluck Shinawatra by some factions in the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.
Ms Yingluck and three of her deputies went to Gen Prem’s Si Sao Thewes residence in Bangkok on Thursday afternoon for a traditional Songkran rod nam dam hua blessing.
Mr Petcharawat said Ms Yingluck and the governing Pheu Thai Party must fulfill their promises made during the election campaign: to amend the 2007 charter, to create national reconciliation, to bring fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra home; and to implement their populist policies for the people.
Some red-shirts did not understand that the government and Pheu Thai must adapt to current conditions and also must abide by the demands of the majority of Thai people, he added.
Red-shirt critics of Ms Yingluck believe her government is becoming too friendly with elements that they blame for the coup that ousted her brother in 2006. They also feel she is not taking a sufficiently hard line on dealing with those responsible for the bloody end to the May 2010 red-shirt protests, in which 91 people died.
Promoting reconciliation is not about whitewashing the wrongs in connection with the 91 deaths, said Mr Petcharawat. It was aimed at healing and providing financial assistance for the victims of political violence.
Offenders must be held responsible for any wrongs they committed and must be punished, he added.
“The red-shirts should not rally against Gen Prem because the meeting between Ms Yingluck and the statesman and bringing about national reconciliation are different matters,” he said.
The red-shirts should stand firm on their stance to protect democracy and to act as guards to prevent powers from outside the system getting involved in politics. Politics is a matter for political parties, he added.
For example, Mr Petcharawat said, the red-shirts should not interfere with the coming byelection in Chiang Mai’s Constituency 3, to replace the disqualified MP Chinnitcha Wongsawat, daughter of former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, who is married to the premier’s older sister.
It is the prerogative of the Pheu Thai Party to select a suitable candidate to run in the byelection and the red-shirts must respect the party’s decision.
Ms Yingluck insisted on Friday that she merely offered Gem Prem a Songkran blessing and that the meeting was non-political.
It is a Thai tradition that younger people should approach the more senior ones to ask for blessing during the Thai New Year festival, she said.
Asked about her 30-minute discussion with Gen Prem, Ms Yingluck said there was no discussion of politics because Gen Prem has never got involved in it.
The issues raised included ways to work to better help people in far South and other development projects on which Gen Prem had years of experience, she said.
Asked whether she had apologised to Gen Prem on behalf of her elder brother, Ms Yingluck did not answer.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit on Friday said members of the public felt “sabai jai” (comfortable) with the meeting between the Yingluck cabinet members and Gen Prem.
Mr Prompong said people had expressed their views toward the meeting through the party, saying they felt at ease that the premier and her colleagues performed a traditional blessing for a “respected adult” without having any political agenda.
Mr Prompong said the meeting should not be used for any political purposes. He also claimed most supporters of the UDD were satisfied with the way Thursday’s event was conducted.
Thailand assures full support to Japan on Mekong Delta development: PM…Thai leader comforts Japan like War time
BANGKOK, April 21 (Xinhua) — Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Thailand agreed to support Japan in the development of the Mekong River delta to strengthen economies in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), Thai News Agency reported Saturday.
At a joint press conference with leaders of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and Japan after the 4th Mekong-Japan Summit, Yingluck said that the summit was considered an important mechanism to boost regional economic strength.
The 4th Mekong-Japan Summit in Tokyo was chaired by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and attended by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavo, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Myanmar’s President Thein Sein along with Yingluck.
Yingluck said that Thailand has always supported neighboring countries and the development in the GMS, and would like to propose joint Thai-Japanese development projects for the expansion of cooperation on East-West Economic Corridor and Southern Economic Corridor.
As for the Southern Economic Corridor, the Thai premier has invited Japan to support and participate in the development of the Dawei deep sea port in Myanmar as Thailand would allocate a budget for the construction of a highway to link Bangkok with the Thai- Myanmar border provinces, which would eventually connect the route between the Andaman Sea and South China Sea under the Southern Economic Corridor.
Yingluck added that Thailand has provided assistance to its neighboring countries and this year, it allocated 77 U.S. million dollars for infrastructure development in the region.
The 3rd Mekong-Japan Summit in Bali, Indonesia last November focused on natural disaster responses and water resources management.
BANGKOK, March 17 (Xinhua) — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday ordered concerned authorities to speed up measures to contain high consumer product prices caused by the massive flood last year, Thai News Agency reported.
The premier, on her weekly programme “Yingluck Government Meets the People,” said that last year’s flood crisis was the major factor that caused high prices of consumer products.
She said that consumer goods prices were lower when compared with the same month last year but the flood had forced many factories to halt their operations, while many distribution centres could not deliver the products, eventually causing prices to increase as demand was much higher than the supply.
However, she expressed confidence that the high prices of food and consumer products would return to normal by June this year.
Yingluck said she has ordered the Commerce Ministry to speed up the expansion of the “Blue Flag” programme to sell consumer goods at low prices assisting low-income earners, and expected every community to have one Blue Flag shop or stall starting this month.
The ministry of commerce and relevant offices would implement measures to ensure that prices of consumer goods were reasonable, particularly those of eggs and palm cooking oil, said the premier.
The prime minister said the government believed the rise of world oil prices would be only short term and would not intervene in domestic oil prices, but measures would be taken to ease the impact on the public.
Written by Kham
17/03/2012 at 5:13 pm
BKPost, 11 March 2012
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Monday her elder brother, former prime minister Thaksin, is not about to return home soon.
Ms Yingluck had been asked if she was concerned a new round of conflict would erupt if Thaksin returns to Thailand soon, because her deputy Chalerm Yubamrung has repeatedly claimed he will bring the ousted prime minister home soon.
The premier said she had replied to this question many times, and that Mr Chalerm was only giving his personal opinion.
She said the current constitutional amendment process was intended only to amend Section 291 to set up a constitution drafting assembly to rewrite the charter, not to bring anyone home.
On the yellow shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy’s (PAD) call for political reforms, Ms Yingluck reaffirmed the government is working toward reconciliation and is open to opinions from all sides.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm confirmed it is his intention to propose a reconciliation bill that will result in his bringing Thaksin home.
He said his move had nothing to do with Prime Minister Yingluck or the government.
The reconciliation bill, with only six articles, has been drafted. It will be proposed as a bill under Section 142 (2) of the constitution requiring the support of at least 20 MPs.
So far 21 MPs had promised to sign in support of the bill.
Mr Chalerm said this in responding to questions about Democrat Party and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva’s call for Ms Yingluck to explain clearly to the public how the government will achieve reconciliation and bring the fugitive former premier home.
The deputy prime minister said he will not reveal the bill’s details at this stage because he wanted to first help people understand its real purpose.
Mr Chalerm said he expected to spend another four to five months explaining this before submitting the bill to the House of Representatives.
After the House goes into recess, he will travel to the provinces, beginning with the Northeast, to brief police throughout the country on policies regarding drugs, crime suppression and justice.
During the trip he will take time in the evening, after official working hours, to make speeches to the people in the front yard of the governors’ residences to explain the reconciliation bill.
He said it was intended to allow everybody to forget the past and start over, with a new chapter of politics which will benefit everyone.
BANGKOK, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will attend the 42th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Friday and Saturday in Davos, Switzerland, Thai News Agency reported on Friday.
Following her official visit to India as chief guest at the 63rd Republic Day celebration on Wednesday and Thursday, Yingluck is scheduled to travel to Switzerland for the WEF.
This year’s theme is “The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models” reflecting world leaders worry about global complexities and linkages following the financial crisis that occurred in many parts of the world.
The main objectives of the Thai premier’s participation in the Davos forum focus on building a good image and showing Thailand’s vision in the international arena as well as rebuilding confidence among leaders and investors on Thailand’s economy after the flood crisis last year that caused huge damage.
Yingluck said that she would also use the forum to publicize the World Economic Forum on East Asia to be held in Bangkok from May 30 to June 1.
The premier said she believed that her participation in the forum would rebuild confidence on the part of foreign investors to maintain their existing businesses in Thailand and moreover it could bring new investment to the country.
Yingluck is scheduled to participate in three main sessions including a round table discussion with international leaders and executives, an informal gathering of World Economic Leaders (IGWEL) on “Defining the Imperatives for 2012″ covering sustainable economic growth.
She will be a keynote speaker at the opening conference entitled “Women as the Way Forward,” intended to exchange opinions on the values and roles of female leaders.
Yingluck will also discuss with business leaders and CEOs on” Public-Private Interaction on Thailand”to seek ways to develop Thailand’s economic potential and policy on water management and long term reform measures in Thailand.
The Thai prime minister will also meet with leaders of a number of countries, including the presidents of Poland, Tanzania, Switzerland, and the prime minister of Pakistan. She will also discuss with business leaders from Sumitomo Chemical, Coca-Cola, and Swiss Re.
On the sidelines of the WEF, Thailand opens”Thai Night”Friday evening as an invitation and to publicize that it will host the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012, in which Yingluck said ” Thai Night” should draw over 400 business leaders as another chance to tell investors of investment opportunities in Thailand.
The WEF is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Over 2,500 participants from all over the world, including heads of state or government, business leaders, and members of the media are joining this year’s meeting.