As Head of the NationalCouncil for Peace Order (NCPO) and Prime Minister, I wish to inform the Thaicitizens of the following important matter.
Regarding the Constitution, the NCPO has provided guidance to theConstitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) to consider the problems that Thailandhad faced over many years, and to find the ways to address these problemsthrough an appropriate democratic process so that they will not recur. This mayinvolve not taking over simplistic understandings of democracy or unlimitedfreedom as precepts while ignoring our real problems, and upholding theConstitution as the highest law of the country as with other laws, which ifviolated through loopholes or demands based on human rights that end upviolating the rights and freedoms of others, will diminish the stability of thecountry.
On the matter of public opinion regarding the current drafting ofthe Constitution, the NCPO has consulted with the Chairperson of the CDC, abouthow this should be continuous, as the previous drafting committee had alreadyundertaken this effort throughout the country, and that it is important tolisten to all opinions from all groups and factions. Previously there has beendistorted information suggesting that the opinions of the upper class were onlylistened to by the CDC. Thailand does not have an upper, middle, or lowerclass. These are the phrases used by some politicians who have tried toseparate Thai society into groups and factions and create divisions for thesake of their own political gain. It has even been alleged that the NCPO andthe Government have used the enforcement of Article 112 of the Constitution todamage its opponents. The important issue is whether offenses were clearlycommitted, be it through demonstrations or in social media in Thailand and fromabroad. It has thus been asked why the government has not addressed thisproblem. I wish to inform you that before 22 May 2014, the government sector,in particular security agencies, have continuously acted on this matter againstthose who have violated Thailand’s most revered institution.
Nevertheless groups linked to this offense have remained elusivewhile rendering support to other groups with the malicious intent to misleadwith false information so as to undermine the country’s credibility andsecurity, while not being prohibited or seriously deterred by those in chargeof national administration at that particular time. After 22 May 2014 anddespite the efforts taken by the NCPO and the Government, this crime hascontinued in social media and websites based abroad, as they have been verydifficult to control or restrict. Within the country, action has been taken inaccordance with the laws and judicial procedures, though repeat offenses in theform of newly created sites have continued. This has also proved to be a burdenfor officials who upon making arrests, are usually resisted by claims of humanrights, often followed by the fleeing of those accused to another country.
The NCPO and the Government calls on all citizens, politicians,political groups, academics, to express their opinions and ideas about thedraft Constitution to the CDC and through the channels provided by the CDC,rather than though the media, so as to avoid confusion in society between thefactual developments and personal viewpoints, in relation to the current draftcharter.
The essential factor in drafting the constitution is to how addressthe problem of parliamentary dictatorship, corruption, misconduct, andviolations of the law; how to have checks and balance of executive powers,legislative powers, and judicial powers; and how to create good governance innational administration.
The conflicts that have prevailed over many years, which have beenviolent, involved the use of war weapons and harm to innocent civilians, thecreation of factions and groups and divisions in society – how do we preventthis from happening again? What do we do so that our officials do not feeldiscouraged, are treated fairly, while remaining free from being misled intomisconduct by politicians?
Reform that engenders sustainability in all dimensions for thecountry may take a considerable amount of time, and not only within a few yearsto be completed. This does not mean that the NCPO will stay until thecompletion of this process, but rather shall initiate a process for successiveelected governments to carry on, accompanied by mechanisms or laws to assureadherence to the twenty year Country Strategy, which also covers the 12thNational Social and Economic Development Plan. Governments will be tasked toimplement these reforms with tangible outcomes, while every government ministryand agency should develop their own strategies to be in line with the CountryStrategy and the National Social and Economic Development Plan. Thesemechanisms should not interfere with the national administration efforts of thegovernment, but should be able to correct certain problems should they arise,such as those which occurred in to country prior to 22 May 2014.
The NCPO and the Government understands that the majority ofpeople as well as the international community do not prefer for the military tostep in to solve such problems. Therefore, the NCPO and the Government wishesfor the current draft constitution to come from the cooperation of all citizensand for it to be a comprehensive and effective charter so that the militaryshall no longer step in to solve the nation’s problems. For some politicianswho might feel apprehensive about this, we ask you to be patient for the peopleand for the country, given that this should not take long according to theRoadmap that has been advocated all along.
As for reconciliation, many people claim that for the country tomove towards a complete democracy, amnesty must first be granted so that thecountry can be peaceful. It needs to be asked, what about the judicial processin which all people are equal under the law? If those that had been accused hadacknowledged the charges pressed against them and attempted to prove theirinnocence in the courts of law in the first place, these problems would havenot come about, there would be no NCPO, and no need for citizens to be injured orperish through the actions of unknown armed groups. So far there have beenseveral arrests, legal proceedings, prosecutions, and sentences for crimescommitted. Everyone knows who this group has supported, and if this has beenupright. However if this support was by democratic processes and the governmenthad exercised good governance, these problems would probably not have arisenand the people would not have had to resort to violence towards each other.
The NCPO and the Government are confident that the majority of thepeople agree on the point that building reconciliation is to build mutualunderstanding based on the rule of law and devoid of impunity, otherwise itwould be tantamount to instilling lawlessness.
Reconciliation will come about through the cooperation of allcitizens and the NCPO and the Government would like the Thai people to considerwhether the statements and proposals by politicians, academics and some mediaare based on fact or have any constructive value. The Thai people can make animportant contribution during this time of national reform by disregarding andnot supporting those who wish to cause rifts, incite hatred, seek only personalgain, and create chaos.
The current efforts by the NCPO and the government are to preventthe country and the people from regressing to the same situation. The NCPO andthe Government do not wish to be anyone’s enemy. But we will not allowanyone who wishes ill to the Monarchy, is corrupt, and seeks to harm the peopleand the country, to pressure the NCPO, the Government, and the CDC while we areperforming our duties for Thailand’s future for stability, prosperity, andsustainability. The NCPO and the Government sincerely hopes that the militaryintervention of 22 May 2014 is indeed the last one for Thailand.
In summary, this draft constitution should contain internationallyaccepted features, not be subject to frequent changes, include processes andmechanisms for a specific period until the country is secure and stable, andnot go against the principles of democracy. In the first phase, this requiresthe development of our politics, politicians, with peoples from every group andbackground to have solidarity, morality, ethics, good governance, and politicalideals based on principles. This also includes the rule of law that is just. However, no matter how determined the NCPO and the Government is, ifthere is no support from the people and no solidarity, thoughtfulness andconsciousness among the people, and no faithfulness to our nation, then realreform based on stability, prosperity and sustainability will ultimatelyprove difficult. What is most important is for the Thai people tocontinue encouraging those who are scrupulous, sincere, and committed, so thatthey are unable to be thwarted or hampered by those who are not genuinelydevoted to Thailand.