EDITORIAL: Thaksin's shadow looms large over Yingluck's govt

Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - With the Thai government under fire over its attempt to raise 2.2 trillion baht (US$74 billion) for infrastructure mega-projects, anything that has the potential to divert public attention from the issue is viewed with great suspicion.

The revival of the amnesty controversy might be one such distraction. But what about the latest high-profile Skype address to the Pheu Thai Party by fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra?

Apart from "advising" his party about current affairs, there is not much new. Thaksin is the party's real boss and he doesn't even try to hide it.

The Skype contact emphasised the two key issues - the long-delayed amnesty plan and the borrowing for mega-projects. Both have generated heated debate and, in their own ways, affected the credibility of his sister's government.

Obviously Thaksin wants the two grand plans to go ahead. And as always, he focused on benefits and papered over flaws and shortcomings. It's debatable whether he can manage to dress up the two controversial agendas, but the much-publicised Skype communication has its own consequences affecting the Yingluck administration, regardless of whether a general amnesty is underway or whether the state is broke or not.

The biggest effect, of course, is that the overseas call confirms Thaksin's status as the ruling party's patriarch, but he has done this countless times before. Whenever his sister tells the international media about her "independence", he will pop up to disprove her words.

We wonder if Yingluck cares, because she has never denied listening to Thaksin's advice. Only she knows whether what her brother does has crossed the advisory line into the realm of taking actual command.

Supporters of Pheu Thai or Thaksin might shrug it off. This is the way the "injustice" that befell them should be corrected, they say. But Thaksin pulling the strings from afar is witnessed by unsympathetic eyes as well. There are investors who are turned off by freak politics.

There are those who don't like the government's amnesty plan, and Thaksin's conference calls simply galvanise them. There are foreign diplomats who are wondering what to do if "the other side" comes to power.

Everyone knows that Yingluck is not a seasoned politician. But if Thaksin thinks he is helping, he should think again. For one thing, Yingluck should be given a chance to serve as the elected prime minister, not a puppet premier. On non-Thaksin issues, she has not done too badly. What undermines her authority are the suspicious agenda items that have his shadow looming all over them.

The government is promoting "reconciliation". If the scheme really "has nothing to do with Thaksin", as the ruling party claims, he is absolutely not helping by popping up on Skype to ask Pheu Thai MPs to keep pushing for it. If the scheme really has something to do with Thaksin, the Skype thing is a negative and unwise political move.

As for the 2.2-trillion baht borrowing plan, economists and financial experts will continue to debate its pros and cons. It is already a highly controversial issue without Thaksin telling Pheu Thai, "You have to do it". When he touches upon an issue worth 2.2 trillion baht, tough economic aspects are further complicated by political ones.

Thaksin can help Yingluck - by staying away and keeping his mouth shut. It's already enough for her without him demonstrating that he is the real boss. If he thinks his Skype appearances will help her command respect in a massive political party, it could be rather short-sighted thinking. Yingluck's problem is not winning over Pheu Thai. As prime minister, she must be seen to be evolving positively because, like it or not, there are other parts of Thailand she has to serve, too. It's a mammoth task for her to win hearts beyond the "red" zones, but among the factors confining her is her own brother.

*US$1=29.5 baht

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Honda Launches the New Generation BeAT Fi
    Honda Launches the New Generation BeAT Fi

    Honda Philippines Inc. (HPI) recently unveiled its latest offering, the New Generation BeAT-FI eSP Series at the Music Hall of the SM Mall of Asia. Daiki Mihara, President of Honda Philippines, Inc., is confident of the potentials of the New Generation BeAT-FI eSP Series in the local scooter market. “The New Generation BeAT-FI eSP Series is a reflection of Honda Philippines’ continued commitment to provide powerful, safe, fun, and worthwhile driving experience to the growing market of …

  • 15 wounded in 2 explosions in restive southern Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — At least 15 people have been wounded in two separate blasts that hit a police camp in a restive southern Philippine province where Muslim militants operate, police said Saturday. …

  • 15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp
    15 wounded in mosque attack at Philippine police camp

    Fifteen people including 10 police officers were wounded in an attack on a mosque at police camp on a remote Philippine island long plagued by Islamic militancy, officials said on Saturday. Successive blasts targeted the mosque inside Camp Kasim on the island of Jolo early evening Friday -- an initial grenade attack followed by a bomb explosion less than 10 minutes later that was intended to target police who rushed to the scene, local authorities said. "It seems the (first) explosion was set …

  • US missile cruiser docks at Subic
    US missile cruiser docks at Subic

    A US Navy missile cruiser has dropped anchor in Subic Bay as part of “routine port call,” amid rising tension in the West Philippine Sea stirred by China’s island building activities and other threatening moves by its forces. The arrival of the Ticonderoga-class missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG-67) at the Subic Bay Freeport in Olongapo City yesterday was “just a routine port visit for ship replenishment and routine maintenance of shipboard system,” said Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office …

  • Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño
    Agri, power sectors should brace for El Niño

    The agriculture and power sectors, as well as the general public should brace for a prolonged El Niño phenomenon that could further reduce water supply for electricity and irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. Flaviana Hilario, acting deputy administrator for research and development of PAGASA, said the El Niño condition is expected to intensify from weak to moderate by August this year. Anthony Lucero, …

  • China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row
    China to US: Help cool down Phl on sea row

    The US should help “cool down” the Philippines and realize that its meddling in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute would only stir tensions, a Chinese newspaper reported. “Washington should know its meddling in the South China Sea has been destabilizing the region. The US has vowed not to take sides in the territorial dispute, which involves China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. …

  • No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests
    No stopping K to 12 despite SC case, protests

    K to 12 is the fruit of years of comprehensive consultations involving different sectors in education,” Aquino said during the launching of the program at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Organized by the Department of Education (DepEd), the launch was attended by teachers, students and representatives from different stakeholders supportive of the K to 12 program. It was held two years after the signing of Republic Act 10533, or the Enhanced Basic Education …

  • MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t
    MNLF pushes review of peace pact with gov’t

    The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) maintained its bid for completion of the tripartite review of the implementation of the peace agreement with the Philippine government in 1996. The MNLF’s desire to put consensual closure to the tripartite effort was relayed by its leaders to Sayed El-Masry, the special envoy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during the annual foreign ministers conference in Kuwait last Thursday. The MNLF peace agreement with the government in Sept. 2, …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options