Good evening dear Thai citizens.
Last week, I mentioned uncle Sa-ung Han Prakhon’s travel by foot to Siriraj Hospital as a display of loyalty and to wish His Majesty a speedy recovery. This week, two members of the younger generation demonstrated their loyalty in a similar manner by cycling to Siriraj Hospital to sign the well-wishing book for His Majesty.
Mr. Angkun Thanaphanuwong and Mr. Thanit Chankham, both locals of Lang Suan district in Chumphon, realized their dream of cycling to pay tribute to His Majesty through undertaking a 529 kilometers journey from Lang Suan to Siriraj Hospital.
I view the new generation’s display of loyalty and gratitude toward His Majesty as a delightful event in Thai society. The new generation is aware of the well-being and happiness of the Thai people having resulted from the development foundations that His Majesty laid down for the country in the past. They learned this through recollections by their parents and grandparents.
Many state agencies have been conducting work in accordance with His Majesty’s royal initiatives. I commend all civil servants and state employees who have committed themselves to working to address the country’s problems and strengthening their respective agency. An example is the Ministry of Education’s collaboration with the Distance Learning Foundation to urgently amplify the results of long-distance education through satellite broadcasts.
For this purpose, the Office of the Basic Education Commission used the structure of long-distance education employed at schools in primary education area 1 in Suphanburi as a model. As a result, academic performance by students in this area has improved and their NT and O-Net test scores have doubled, and now exceed the national average.
This structure will be put in use at 15,369 schools which have less than 120 students. All of the target schools have started holding classes in the current second semester by receiving the satellite feed from Wang Klai Kangwon School in Hua Hin – the school is a private school under the patronage of His Majesty the King and it possesses a complete roster of teachers for all subjects and levels.
This helps to concretely address the problem of small schools that do not have enough teachers for all levels and all major subjects. It provides the roughly 1.02 million students at the target schools the opportunity of equal education; they can learn with the same teachers at the same learning quality no matter where they are in Thailand.
This is how we can address the shortage of teachers and lift the standards of teaching in rural areas. Teachers within each locale should receive cooperation from all concerned agencies to apply the satellite broadcasts project to their teaching. This initiative would be a commendable way to pay tribute to His Majesty’s dedication to long-distance learning as well as to auspiciously commemorate His Majesty’s Birthday Anniversary on December 5.
On the topic of work in progress by the government, I must admit that state agencies and civil servants have had to work harder. Although there have been accusations directed at some officials through various social media, there are many more upstanding officials who have been working very hard who deserve our moral support. Collaboration is needed from all sectors and from the public to address the problems facing our country, which has had in impact on our development progress and political unrest in the past decade or so.
Again, I must give my thanks and also ask for continued cooperation. I would like to remind us all that we have lost our capital city twice due to disunity and quarrelling among the people in the nation. If we continue to harbor conflicts and distrust while failing to reconcile, the country will become a sick patient that has no immunity from various threats – corruption, narcotics, and terrorism.
In considering those who have broken the law, issues should be viewed separately in two aspects – those which involve/require legal amendments or those which require law enforcement/ legal procedures. If everything is mixed together then nothing will get solved. I do not want the law or the justice procedure to be abused; wrongdoers should be found guilty, and vice-versa for the innocent.
I would like to quote His Majesty the King’s royal speech about ‘knowing, loving and collaborating’. ‘Knowing’ refers to intelligence and understanding of the work that needs to be done. ‘Loving’ refers to having devotion for and being satisfied with the work that needs to be done. ‘Collaborating’ refers to working with others in a sincere manner, without quarrels and side-taking – truly working for the common good. Let us all adhere to this guidance.
We now turn to the topic of international relations and confidence-building.
As you have probably been informed of by the media, I paid visit to the Kingdom of Cambodia during October 30 and 31. I was granted an audience with King Norodom Sihamoni to pay His Majesty tribute on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of His Majesty’s Accession. I also expressed gratitude for his royal pardons granted to Thai prison inmates.
I would like to give emphasis to the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Thailand and Cambodia, which is by no means unlawful. The MOU involves the mutual understanding of bilateral cooperation against human trafficking and in protecting victims of human trafficking. The government is aware of the increasing severity of this problem and its changing nature. The MOU will also have beneficial effects on the sale of all types of goods.
There are other agreements and regulations on trade in agriculture produce, aquaculture, and fisheries. If we do not tackle the issue of human trafficking and the fisheries sector, then our products will not be allowed to be sold abroad. Today, we are tackling this issue in all dimensions. Recently, the Foreign Ministry dispatched a delegation to the European Union to discuss the topic of trade in aquaculture. There is tendency for better understanding. Some time is needed to handle the issue in its entirety because it has been left unsolved for many years.
The recent MOU signing involves making adjustments to and updating the topics already included. There are now more bad characters to deal with; there are new methods employed in the trafficking of persons and in exploitation of illegal labor. We have always been working to address this issue, but never before have we been able to accomplish this on a scale seen at present. Around a million migrant workers, more than half of which are Cambodian, have become registered – around 600,000 of them. Aside from direct effects on Thailand, this matter is of concern to the region as well as the international community.
I have told responsible agencies to rapidly proceed with measures to address human trafficking. I ask that anyone with information on human trafficking submit their information. The submitted information should be in detail, however, because it is difficult to take matters further if only simple claims are provided. Please inform the government of any information through any of the Damrong Tham centers. This visit to Cambodia also involved the signing of two other MOUs.
There was the MOU on cooperation in tourism. Both countries have an abundance of tourism sites. If possible, we might create joint tourism packages to help each other promote tourism – we are neighbors. There was also signing for cooperation in rail road linkages, which would promote connectivity.
Aside from rail, we aim to promote connectivity in road and air traffic. We currently have working plans to improve our rail connectivity with neighboring countries and with other regional communities. These initiatives are contained within the current working plan of the government. The relations between Thailand and Cambodia have strengthened; we must no longer harbor any conflicts.
At the beginning of the week, I had the opportunity to welcome former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. I explained to him the current situation and the progress of the government’s work to administer the country toward a sustainable and strong democracy, and the emphasis on transparency and timeliness.
Mr. Tony Blair expressed understanding of the problem and the challenges facing the government at present. He said to me that conflicts within Thai society were deep-rooted and complicated, making them difficult to be understood. He suggested the current government ensure that the country’s economy progresses forward while it proceeds, as much as possible, with reforms in all aspects such as education, society and public health.
This would allow the goal of a sustainable and strong democracy to be achieved. The former UK premiere also suggested that the global community be continually informed, in detail, of Thailand’s progress. We are doing this through all our embassies and through documents well as dialogue. The printed media and other media are also used. We will keep trying, otherwise the global community will not be confident and misunderstandings may arise, including expectations about when we will become a complete democracy. On behalf of the government and all Thais, I thanked Mr. Blair for his understanding and the moral support he has continually shown for our country.
This past week, I also welcomed the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) and engaged in an exchange of ideas about the economy and investing in Thailand. I assured the representatives from the 34 companies of the government’s willingness to support business and investments, and our commitment to uphold the benefit of all parties.
Nevertheless the benefit of Thailand and its people must also be taken into account. I want to see progress for Thai personnel and domestic technologies, as well as research and development projects that would be of benefit to all parties if pursued alongside the various investments.
I would like to inform all citizens that since May 22, both the NCPO and the government have worked to maintain the interests of neighboring countries as well as overseas nations. We have tried to provide incentives for investing in Thailand, but we also require appropriate and equitable returns. The BOI has been reviewing the principles for various incentives such as those for funds and SMEs promotion. This review has been undertaken in about 11 aspects so far, and they are aimed at driving the economy as a whole, also taking into account the global community. We have made corrections to certain obstacles in business and investment. Thailand’s ranking in the list of countries favoring investment has improved.
If any business has queries, suggestions or complications, please inform the government; we would very much appreciate it. As for Thai investors who are ready to make investments, I would like them to register with ministries or at the BOI so that they can be connected to countries that might be seeking to invest in the business they are going to undertake; the projects can materialize more quickly this way. We need to drive both our own economy and those of our neighbors, in order for ASEAN to become strong. This is my view, and I am open to other views as well. I would like to use phrases such as ‘Thailand plus one’ or ‘neighboring country plus one’.
On the same occasion, American investors expressed interest to invest in energy, infrastructure, IT and health tourism. They want us to become a hub for several things. We have to further our discussions and determine how we can sustainably achieve this; jobs will be created for Thais as a result. They also expressed interest to work with Thailand on a digital economy. In this regard, we are making improvements. The ICT Ministry and telecommunication technology organizations will need to act quickly on this. As for future collaboration, all communities – ASEAN, the US, Europe – wish to work with and invest in Thailand; they already have investment plans. Therefore, we need to foster their confidence; they would not want to invest if we are still bickering among ourselves. We must consider the interest of the nation. The economy must be considered from the large scale to the small scale. We will not be able to sell products if we suffer from lack of investment and foreign confidence. How will the economy improve if they don’t invest with us. Everything – large, medium and small – is interconnected; most of the businesses in our country also happen to be SMEs.
Turning to the aspect of the economy - It is well-known that the global economy is still in its recovery phase. Some economies have become better off, and some are still lagging – this has effects on the export segment of the Thai economy. For the big picture, we are trying to at least get the economy to move at a level that will prevent economic distress. There are entanglements in the legal aspect, and in agreements and rules that may have been neglected for a long time. Today, we are trying to untangle everything, and this might be somewhat chaotic in the beginning. Some business operators may have become displeased, but I am doing this for the future, so we would be able to continue selling our products. I would like to inform the public that export indicators have started to improve in September, especially for the US market where Thai exports increased 6.2%. Meanwhile, exports to ASEAN increased by as much as 8.8% compared to the same period of last year.
As for tourism, advance bookings statistics have steadily shown improvement since the month of May, although growth remains sluggish. It is expected that numerous foreign tourists will arrive in Thailand during the high season spanning from the end of the year to early next year.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports projects that there will be more than 25.5 foreign visitors to Thailand over the entire year. As many as 6.5 million will have come from Europe; this would be 350,000 more than last year.
I ask that Thai citizens display their warmth and help to create an impression on tourists, so they would return to visit Thailand often. An example would be Mr. Thongsin Mi-thongsaen, a taxi driver who recovered a wallet and returned it to the owner who was a British tourist. There have been many such cases and I cannot name them all. These actions have a positive effect on the country’s reputation.
I would like everyone to rest assured that the government is doing all it can to address the problems of the economy. We have already been rapidly disbursing the fiscal 2014 budget and are working to also expedite disbursals for the 2015 fiscal year, with the aim of stimulating the economy with money really reaching the hands of the people.
We are working to improve the country’s capacity to compete, through transport infrastructure, investment promotion, and creation of skilled labor. The latter is important for our integration into the ASEAN Economic Community. Many of the transportation infrastructure projects will commence next year.
These efforts will positively affect jobs creation and income generation, and also result in more cash flowing into the system. These effects are expected to be observed in quarter 4 of this year and quarter 1 of 2015, and will help the Thai economy to expand significantly more than this year. Those who are better off should spend a little more to help out the poor so the domestic economy can move better. I ask that the rich make sacrifices and spend some of their money to contribute to reduction of disparity and misunderstandings. The government and responsible agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Thailand, and the Stock Exchange of Thailand have been meeting frequently to foster confidence for both domestic and foreign investors. Most of these investors are confident in the Thai economy, and view that Thailand is an attractive investment destination in the emerging markets segment.
I am confident the Thai economy will improve next year, in accordance with projections by economic think tanks in and outside Thailand. When the global economy recovers, when we have the unified effort of the state, all members of the public and all other sectors, and when we have a stable government, our return to competition within the global arena will look bright.
The raising of the LPG price by 50 satang this month was made in line with market mechanisms and made to better reflect the true cost. The raises will be made step-by-step, and the government will try to minimize impacts on the general public.
I have told the Ministry of Commerce to ready measures to accommodate the potential effects of the gas price rise. I must ask the public to lend its cooperation. Citing the cooking gas price rise and then raising food prices by 5,6 or 10 baht is unacceptable. The Commerce Ministry will monitor against this; there will be penalties, in accordance with the law, on those who take advantage of this situation. I have been hearing about prices of fast dishes being raised 10 baht or 15 baht. This cannot be; how can you raise it by 5 baht when the gas price has only risen by 50 satang. The middlemen should also refrain from exploiting others; make some compromises about profit so the public will not be troubled. Try to sell more at lower prices than sell less at higher price. I ask everyone to contribute to the sustainable development of the country. Please reconsider eating at places that overprice.
Turning to the efforts to address farmers’ issues - The government is aiming to sustainably address the plights of agriculturists. This requires cooperation from the farmers, the creditors, the middlemen, the state, the private sector and the public. More time is needed to build up understanding and collaboration between these sectors. Please pitch in toward this drive.
Nonetheless, the government has already provided preliminary assistance to mediate the plights of farmers. Over the past two weeks, the government handed out around 2 billion baht of assistance money to 165,000 rice farmers. The pay-outs will continue until all rice farmers are paid. Note that this is a temporary measure for this year only. Please provide your cooperation and remain patient. We are trying to improve the prices of agriculture produce, but there are also effects incurred from outside, namely our export destinations. We have already reclaimed the no.1 spot in global rice exports. The quantity is already high but the price has not risen by much; we will continue to address this. Meanwhile, the Cabinet has already approved the measure to also provide assistance money to rubber tree growers; a database of eligible rubber tree growers is being established. Imposers will be penalized in accordance with the law. I ask that rice growers refrain from paying heed to those claiming to be able to provide them with the assistance money more quickly, and then being tricked into paying them or splitting the assistance money with them. The government intends to provide the money to real paddy farmers; it does not matter if the farmers are working on their own paddies or on plots rented from others. Protect your own interest and do not let others take advantage of you. Avoid incurring debts. In the meantime, assistance for rubber tree growers is in progress. The registration of eligible individuals has not been completed; there are individuals whose plantations are located outside of the growing area and there is the issue of legal correctness and what not. Illicit acts are slowing the progress. We also do not want to enforce the law too severely; otherwise the poor would be afflicted. Those who have their own plots should refrain from selling them; trust in the advice of the state. If you sell your plots then you will no longer have land to make a living on. Then you would lobby for state-provided land or then encroach on forests. Then the rich will come and buy your land again. This is how it has been.
Let us turn to the topic of land grants.
In addressing the problem of land for farmers to make their living on, the government has found 7 types of sub-issues: lack of land to make living on, land markings dispute, encroachment on prohibited state-owned land, under-use of land, possession of very large plots, unfair distribution of land grants, and mismanagement of land. There is also the issue of corruption, and the issue of granted land being resold. All of this will be subjected to inspection.
These problems concern may laws and many agencies. They need to all be addressed at the same time, and not by any single ministry. Because of this complexity, the government has designated a comprehensive problem-solving guideline by establishing the ‘national committee on land policy, B.E. 2557’ to handle all of the said issues in their entirety.
Nonetheless, we must understand that land grants to the underprivileged will be made only after inspections are carried out for correctness. The land is not being given away; the recipients will not have ownership of the land. They are being given permission to make use of the land, under the condition that ownership still belongs to the state. The allotted land must reach the hands of people who lack land to make their living on. They must come together, put in their work, and the state will look out for them and share the produce with them. It can be likened to renting land plots. With the recipients inputting labor to cultivate crops, there should be enough output to sustain them. We do not want the plots to fall into the hands of creditors. Over the past 50 years, our forest area has dwindled from 171 million rai to just 102 million rai. There must be no more encroachments. We need to safeguard the remaining 102 million rai with our lives. What of the missing area, what is 171 minus 102? Related agencies need to come up with measures to address the missing area, and also deal with the legalities. We need to rethink how we can provide usable land to those who are without it. If we simply stick to the existing laws, the poor will continue to be poor and they will never have land; novel methods are needed. We also need to designate measures for the conservation of watershed forests and work to preserve the ecosystem for generations to come, so that these areas might also become the ‘lungs’ for ASEAN and the world.
Our next topic is energy.
There is still some misunderstanding in this sector that I would like to address, so as to create better understanding among the public. The government will need to look into certain issues and draw up solutions that will ensure sustainable growth. Every government, including the current administration, is keen to find a way to build resilience and security in the country’s energy sector.
There are different circumstances to this particular sector that may have caused misunderstanding.
Some people may raise questions about how some countries without oil reserves have economic stability.
This is because those countries have strong economic foundations, effective federal reserve system, and high GDP per capita. On the other hand, Thailand is a low GDP per capita country and heavily dependent on agricultural production.
There are two main concerns in Thailand’s energy sector. The first concern is derived from ineffective management and policies that lack continuation and clarity. We need to build confidence among the investors. Should we fail to do so, the country will become less stable in the future. We must find a way to ensure the country’s GDP per capita growth.
The country, for past 7 years, has not at all invested in finding new energy sources for domestic consumption due to the ongoing political unrest.
The second problem is derived from an imbalance between the energy production and imports. The amount of energy Thailand imports is higher than the amount it produces.
The value of imported energy sources combined each year accounts for over 1.4 trillion baht. Let’s do a quick calculation here, we have a total of 2.575 trillion baht in the state budget and we spend more than half of the money on energy imports. The value of energy imported into Thailand is equivalent to the value of Thai rice exports over the period of 16 years. I want everyone in the country to help save the energy. People still consume a lot of it although there have been a flood of complaints about the prices. We also have to look at the country’s basic infrastructure such as bus and train services, all of which are connected to energy consumption. The government is trying to look at the big picture and do what needs to be done. However, this may take some time as it cannot be achieved within a month or two. For so many years, Thailand has not seen any investment in the energy sector, causing the government to lose its income. From now on, we need to start from the bottom which is to create understanding before we can create security and confidence, after which there will be more employment and higher income.
Thailand annually imports 85% of crude oil, 70% of coal and lignite, 20% of natural gas, 10% of refined oil, and 4% of electricity. All of these figures show how much we are importing energy. We need to better manage how we consume each type of energy and discourage inefficient energy use in all sectors. Furthermore, the proportion of consumption of each type of energy needs to be readjusted. We need to come up with a better plan to consume energy.
Although we are able to produce 80% of natural gas and only import 20% of it, there is a possibility of us having to buy 100% of such energy in the next 8 years if we don’t invest or find new sources now. The current natural resources that we have will not be sufficient for future use if we don’t invest now. Although all types of energy cannot be used up at the same time, it is still necessary for us to make sure that we will have enough for domestic consumption. I am urging all related units to look into this matter and conduct a study on how investments should be carried out.
We would have to spend an awful lot of money if 100 percent of energy we consume comes from imports, and this would have a domino effect in the country, raising prices of electricity, water, and other consumption goods. Also, we need to think of a way that we do not have to rely on one energy source, but rather, able to substitute one energy for another. For example, instead of using natural gas to generate electricity, a power plant might consider switching to charcoal. Some may say that charcoal is hazardous, but there are those types that are not. We cannot just sit around and do nothing until all energy sources are finished.
However, we are not certain if we will succeed in drilling and finding new energy resources even though we have satellite data and other information. It is a risk we have to take. I want you to understand that it is vital that the government act now, or else the Energy Ministry will be blamed for everything that goes wrong in the future. We all have to share this responsibility. As for those who oppose this energy plan, you will be held responsible if Thailand actually runs out of energy sources.
The entire process could take as long as 10 years. Although it may be the same company that launches this project, time is required for the company to make preparations, which includes setting up oil rig or platform, before it actually starts drilling. I can assure you that the concession granting will be transparent. The government is willing to consider all companies capable of making this sort of investment. We will consider all bids and offers. With that being said, we need to speed up this process before the country enters an era of energy crisis.
More importantly, all citizens should be aware of the fact that energy sources and natural gases are constantly declining. The country’s economic foundation is not strong enough to survive energy crisis. Therefore, we must help to build security in this segment for the sake of our children.
Our next topic is about the constitution, the legal system, and the judicial system.
Previous constitutions were drafted based on the bias of the administrative body which usually is the government, meaning content included in the previous charters did not align with its intention which is to protect the interests of all the people and the nation.
I told Cabinet ministers to get all sides involved in the drafting process, so that everyone could benefit from the new Constitution. And when the new charter comes into force, we all need to accept the rules and regulations, which will allow us to move forward.
I wish not to see any arguments or conflicts rise over the content of the to-be-drafted constitution. I myself have not seen the content yet. The new charter must be people-centered, fair, thorough, transparent, and most importantly effective. Then we can look into the matter of administrative/executive powers and figure out what does it take to be a good administrator, how does one come into power, how is the power being used, or is the power being abused for one’s own benefit.
Furthermore, a strong constitution will not create conflicts in the society like we have seen in the past and a good constitution must prioritize on protecting people’s best interests.
As we all know, the National Reform Council (NRC) has been established. The government and the NCPO are pushing for a permanent constitution to be formulated as members of the charter drafting committee have already been named since the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The meeting also discussed three other topics which were national administration, reform, and national security. Although the NCPO and the cabinet are working hand-in-hand, there will not be any conflict of interest.
The charter rewrite will be based on the existence of the interim constitution, the NRC’s framework, and the public input, all of which are required to take no longer than 120 days. The drafting committee is open to all suggestions. However, you need to voice your opinions through the right channel.
I understand that you have your ideas and you want to make them heard. Unfortunately, not everyone was selected members of the NRC or the NLA. This is why you need to use an appropriate channel to express yourselves. There must be some common agreements made before we push for the new Constitution in order to prevent future arguments.
I do appreciate your intentions and commitment. The government did not obstruct certain individuals known in the political scene from applying for seats in the charter drafting committee, but the reason why they did not do so is for political reasons, as it is stipulated that any person selected as member of the drafting committee will be given a two-year ban from holding political office.
However, the government and the drafting committee will try to get all sides involved in the drafting process as much as possible.
Our next topic is how to get everyone involved in the national reform process. As I mentioned earlier, the Internal Security Operations Command and the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence will set up venues where you can voice your thoughts and suggestions, all of which will be forwarded to the Election Commission.
Let’s move on to our next topic which is unity and reconciliation. Many people have voiced concerns over the issue. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair once said:
1) reconciliation happens when the sense of shared opportunity is greater than the sense of separate or different interests;
2) a society must have a discourse of reconciliation and accept differences and dissatisfaction;
3) we cannot completely eradicate injustice, but we can establish a framework that is deemed just and fair, reconciliation happens when we talk about justice and balance;
4) reconciliation must come from a true democracy that gives equal rights to every member of society regardless of their nationality and religion, democracy is not just an election and it certainly does not only mean power to a particular party, but democracy must provide equality and the opportunity for every member of the society to participate, democracy makes laws and regulations trustworthy and fair in order for every member to accept and abide by the laws, reconciliation can happen when political policies are transparent and truly benefit the people, good governance will create trust among the people, which will lead to reconciliation, and;
5) reconciliation can happen when a government is looking out for its citizens’ best interests and when the government is open to scrutiny.
Please consider these guidelines which were given by a leader of a country known to have the strongest and most constructive democratic system. I believe we should adopt these guidelines and perhaps consider adjustments that are most suitable for our society.
We need a long-lasting reconciliation process and we need to try to avoid linking reconciliation with legal procedure as they are two different aspects. The government will work hard to move the country forward, stabilize economy, and develop society, so that we can have a fair election.
We cannot use laws as instruments to hurt our opponents. Our nation is the most important thing at the moment. Court procedures and judicial process must be respected and not compromised. I can assure you that the government does not favour any side. If it did, the country would not be able to overcome any setback and that the people would be the ones who suffer.
What the government has done so far has yielded concrete results. These include the following.
1) The government has provided assistance to rice, rubber, and sugar cane growers as well as helped them reduce production cost. Furthermore, we have looked for new potential markets and try to stabilize prices of agricultural produce.
2) Along with revamping social norms, the government has also brought order to migrant workers, van operators, motorcycle taxis, street vendors, beach vendors, and other entertainment venues, all these activities are to ensure safety for tourists.
3) As for crackdowns on influential people and war-grade weapons, the police are speeding up the prosecution against these perpetrators. However, I do not have the authority to intervene in the legal procedures. As for the problem of informal loans, the government is adamant about reducing household debt. We have to admit that this is not an easy task as the problem is deep-rooted. We try to formulate a law that will resolve the issue as well as protect the rights of both creditor and debtor.
4) The next topic is about 2014 and 2015 fiscal budgets. We have been effectively allocating these budgets and we are now in the process of estimating a budget for future disbursements. The estimation should be completed by late this year in order to allow smooth operations until the end of first quarter of next year. Every ministry and department has to be prepared and draw up their operational plans. The budget which is used to run state operations will take time as usual, as it has to go through several procedures before it can be approved in order to prevent corruption.
I am calling for an end to the ongoing political conflict that is holding this nation back. Through our commitment, we have worked hard to keep this society peaceful, but there is still a group of people trying to stir up conflict in society. Therefore, discretion is advised when you listen to this particular group of people. The public needs to be conscious and logical.
5) As for investment promotion, the Board of Investment (BOI) has already approved more than 100 projects, most of which are foreign direct investments. Meanwhile, the BOI will encourage domestic companies to invest overseas as well. As you can see, the government is pushing for more investments in order to ready this sector for ASEAN integration.
6) The government has also deployed several economic stimulus measures to ensure economic growth.
7) As for diplomatic relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to act as both trader and diplomat. Not only will the ministry build strong relations with other nations, it needs to promote Thai products as well.
8) As for reconciliation campaigns, ISOC and the NCPO will be the ones in charge as they will work collaboratively with the army and other related agencies. On this occasion, I would like to ask all the teachers to refrain from making comments influencing political conflict.
9) The government has set up AEC Business Support Centers in many places overseas such as in the Thai embassies in Myanmar and Cambodia. These centers are overseen by the Foreign Ministry. These centers provide great opportunities for Thais and foreigners to conduct business. In addition to this, more than 96 embassies and consulates around the world are planning to launch the “Thai Corner” to promote Thailand and its OTOP products and those products under the royal patronage of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. The “Thai Corner” is also hoped to promote Thai culture, tourism, and trade and investment in the kingdom.
10) As for Damrong Tham centers, more than 200,000 people so far have visited these centers as well as the complaint hotline 1111 which was launched by the Office of the Permanent Secretary, The Prime Minister's Office
There are several measures and plans we are trying to push for, including: 1) economic recovery, 2) accelerating 2015 budget disbursements, 3) promoting reconciliation, 4) promoting national reform in parallel with the NRC, 5) law amendment and revision with an aim to modernize the Thai legal system, 6) making sure all operations are in line with the NCPO’s roadmap to sustainable democracy, 7) preventing violence in the Deep South through various forms such as the establishment of 162 strong villages, the setting up of security teams providing safety for Tambons, villages, and schools as well as the setting up of rapid response teams responsible for saving lives and the setting up of local radio stations. All of these teams are meant to save lives, not hurt anyone. We are there to protect the innocents, but some perpetrators of violence are looking for chances to attack the innocents. It is necessary that these teams are there to look out for the locals. Local radio stations are set up to disseminate information. In addition to this, I have ordered local authorities to form working committees who will act as coordinators between police, soldiers, and volunteers in their respective areas, and to ensure that security measures are being deployed effectively.
We need to come up with a plan in which every staff and authorities in state offices can work collaboratively close with one another to resolve the issue, beef up safety measures, and tone down violence. I met with the Minister for Interior and informed him about the plan. He was glad to learn that there would be more units helping out in the violence-torn southern border provinces. Provincial authorities, too, must help out in every way they can in an attempt to restore peace in the Deep South as soon as possible.
Next is promoting Thailand’s role in ASEAN stage. The government is planning to pay visits to various nations in the near future. These visits are aimed at creating understanding, ensuring national security, and other aspects like development and public relations. We will implement all of the nine strategies.
I wish to express my condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. We must create understanding among residents in the south.
I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to the people, state officials, the media and the private sector that are helping Thailand move forward. I want us to together build a strong Thailand, create unity and reconciliation in all communities.
Yesterday was Loy Krathong Day. I could not hold back a smile when I saw children wear Thai traditional dresses to schools. I really appreciated it. Those dresses are not old-fashioned, but part of our enduring culture and traditions. They were perfect for such a special occasion – a Thai festive occasion. It is only proper that we dress according to the occasion and the culture we are in.
The next topic is about the Asian Beach Games which is sponsored by the government. The event will take place in Phuket next Friday. I would like to call on all Thais to give moral support to our fellow athletes.
In addition, the government has a policy to promote biking as it is pushing for construction of cycling lanes. We are also cooperating with neighboring countries on the matter to promote tourism through bike riding.
The next topic is waste management. There are different types of waste. Some are toxic which could cause health problems. We need to adopt waste sorting and better waste management system. Accumulation of wastes in Thailand accounts for 700,000 tons per annum.
When we look at other countries like South Korea, they had a mountain high landfill not too many years ago, but now they are able to dispose all the wastes and turned the site into a mountainous recreation area where tourists flock to every year. If they can do it, we can do it. All we need is cooperation from all sides involved and everyone must take responsibility and find a common ground.
Everyone cannot have everything only they want. We all want different things, but we need to find a way that allows every member of society to get along amicably. And what about those people who do not wish to be in a conflict. Where would they stand? If all politicians are not self-centred and think of the people first, it would be a lot easier for Thailand to resolve existing issues in society. I am doing the best I can today for a better future of Thailand and its citizens.
Please support the government and all the ministers. I see a lot of comments on social media trying to defame authorities. If you see or know something is wrong. I suggest that you file a complaint or report the issue to related agencies. Please do not go about accusing someone on social media without the accused being unable to defend oneself.
Let me know what happened and I will get to the bottom of it. We all need to respect one another. We need your help to build a strong bureaucratic system and instil honesty in all the civil servants. When the system is strong, bad characters will be forced out automatically. There are hundreds of thousands of civil servants. It is difficult to tell who is virtuous and who is not. Good people need to prevent bad people from entering the system. However, this must be done in a peaceful manner.
Thank you and goodbye
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