In Thailand, disobedient politicians may face reeducation | Inquirer News

In Thailand, disobedient politicians may face reeducation

Deputy PM: Critics who fail to adjust their attitude to be held in custody longer
/ 06:02 PM March 29, 2016

The Thai junta is toughening its stance against politicians who are critical of the post-coup government and refuse to cooperate.

Government figures warned yesterday that people who “have failed to behave” after being repeatedly summoned for “attitude adjustment” will have to undergo an intensive “training course.”


The latest move by the generals came under fire as critics likened the plan to “reeducation” camps in communist countries and described it as violation of human rights.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said yesterday that a “training course” would be necessary after politicians failed to get the point after many sessions to adjust their attitude.


“We will hold a training course for them that may last three to seven days. The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will be the organizer,” Prawit told reporters at the defense ministry.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha added yesterday that the NCPO’s attitude-adjustment sessions would now be held in the form of training courses “for better understanding.”

“They will be asked about their behavior in the past, whether it was right or wrong,” Prayut said. “They will be asked what they would do if they were in government and if they understand what this government is doing. If they don’t know, they should no longer be politicians.”

The junta’s warning comes as the final constitutional draft is set to be submitted to the Cabinet and a national referendum on the draft charter is just months away.

Critics yesterday reacted strongly against the plan to hold training courses for “repeat offender” politicians who refused to toe the junta’s line.

Chaturon Chaisang, a key Pheu Thai Party figure, said the junta’s initiative was “unbelievable,” adding that it reminded him of methods used by communist countries to gag their dissidents.

“This reminds me of how communist countries dealt with dissidents in the past,” he said.


Human rights lawyer Yaowalak Anupan said that the NCPO move seemed to be intended to force people how to think. That constituted an infringement on human rights, she said.

“Basically, people can think differently and the junta should not force them to think in the way they want them to. The NCPO is frightening people,” Yaowalak said.

The NCPO has to adjust itself and be more flexible, otherwise the public will begin to view it as ineffective, she said.

Leading anticoup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong asked yesterday to see the training course’s curriculum and suggested that the junta modify attitude-adjustment sessions to be held as seminars at a resort rather than at a military camp.

The activist, also known as Bor Kor Lai Jud, or the “Polka Dot Editor,” said those detained for attitude adjustment would join the camp if the curriculum involved discussion and debate instead of detention.

Prawit said yesterday that this was not the right time for politicians to take action. “I would like to ask for time. The next election is not long after this.”

“The new constitution is almost finished now and the referendum will take place a short while afterwards,” he said.

Commenting on the detention of Pheu Thai’s Wattana Muangsuk and Worachai Hema, Prawit said their detention was not in violation of human rights.

Asked how many days the two politicians would be held, Prawit said he did not know as the NCPO was dealing with the matter.

Meanwhile, Army commander Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich said authorities would ensure that no moves are taken to create confusion in the run-up to the referendum.

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TAGS: junta, Prawit Wongsuwan, Prayut Chan-O-Cha, Thailand
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