Thaksin: Painting Himself Into the Corner

thaksinsad

“We do not know yet while the UK government has decided to revoke Thaksin’s and Pojaman’s visas. But by doing so, the UK government has acknowleged the credibility of the Thai judiciary system and the legitimacy of the rule of law of the Kingdom of Thailand.”

All of Thaksin Shinawatra’s plans and strategies to make a political comeback through a revolution of some sort have begun to backfire. Thaksin has indeed painted himself into the corner.

This followed the British Embassy’s decision to revoke the entry visa of Thaksin and his wife, Khunying Pojaman. A British notification was sent to all airlines yesterday indicating that the UK Border Agency has revoked the visas held by Thaksin and Pojaman.

The UK visa contained in the passports of the individuals listed above are no longer valid for travel. Airlines are advised not to carry these passengers to the UK.”

What a big twist in the ongoing political turmoil.

Thaksin was believed to be in China while the UK notification was issued. Thai politicians flew off to see him in China to draw up a new political plan and pick up their checks as Thaksin was declaring war to make a political comeback. He was also scheduled next to the Philippines.

We do not know yet while the UK government has decided to revoke Thaksin’s and Pojaman’s visas. But by doing so, the UK government has acknowleged the credibility of the Thai judiciary system and the legitimacy of the rule of law of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thaksin had been spinning his predicament to his political advantage. He pit himself against the elite by portraying himself as a force of Democracy and painting the the elite as anti-Democracy.

He denounced the Thai judiciary system and told the world that he was a victim of political persecution. But the fact was that he jumped bail and received a two-year jail sentence for his conflict interest in the Rachadapisek land deal. Pojaman also earlier received a jail term from the Criminal Court over tax evasion for her stock dealing.

His Saturday Night Live’s phone-in show on November 1, 2008 to his 50,000 supporters in Bangkok’s Rajaangala Stadium marked the point of no return. He openly challenged the Monarchy to distract the public opinion on the legal sentences pending over him.

The Law Society of Thailand has issued a statement to say that Thaksin acted in contempt of the Monarchy and the Judiciary in his phone-in speech.

The Law Society of Thailand’s President, Dej-udom Krairit said Thaksin’s remark, “Nothing can bring me home except the mercy of His Majesty the King or the power of the people,” was clearly intended to interfere with the royal power to grant pardons.

“The speech was aimed at forestalling criminal punishment. It was a hasty attempt to seek a royal pardon when the case [against Thaksin] was not yet completed,” Dej-udom said.

He said Thaksin’s speech was also intended to reduce the credibility of the judiciary and could be regarded as contempt of court.

“In my experience, I have rarely heard any convicted person publicly say he was ‘forced to get jail’, not even those sentenced to death,” he said.

Thaksin and Pojaman sneaked out of the country in August before the Supreme Court’s reading out the verdict of the Rachadapisek land deal.   

Special Branch police earlier this week concluded that Thaksin’s speech contained no message that could be regarded as lese majeste, a criminal offence that carries a penalty of three to 15 years in prison. Yet the police were quick to nab Sulak Sivalaksa, the outspoken social critic on lese majeste charges on Friday.

Dark politics is underway to distort realities and win over world’s and local public opinions by slandering the Monarchy in order to cover up Thaksin’s entrapment in the rule of law. 

Earlier one of a senior editors of The Nation said in a newsroom that given the sound relations between Thailand and the UK, it would be impossible for Thaksin and Pojaman to get a political asylum status.

If the UK were to grant Thaksin and Pojama the political asylum status, it would mean that it does not recognise the legitimacy of the Thai judiciary system. The stake of bilateral relations is high.

The implications are far-reaching as the US, the European Union and other countries will have to adopt a similar stance of the UK when it comes to considering a political asylum request from the Thai couple.

With the UK’s denial of Thaksin’s and Pojaman’s visas, the couple can continue to run but they will not be very certain where to go.

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Lesson of Thai leaders’ code of conduct

The problem now with Thailand is that Thaksin Shinawatra does not concede. This is not Thai-like as judged by the political history.

In the past, all Thai leaders who lost power or the game of power play agreed to live in exile or stayed in Thailand in seclusion for the sake of the whole country rather than fighting till their supporters and their opponents died. Modern Thai political history is spared the bloodshed compared with other nations.

King Rama VII faced a military coup in 1932 that brought down Absolute Monarchy, which had been around in Thailand for more than 700 years. The King conceded his power because he did not want the Thais to kill each other.

When the King realised that he could not be part of managing the country in transition for the interest of the majority Thais, he abdicated from the throne in 1935. Then the coup-makers were more interested in power struggle for their own benefits. The King left for England and died there.

This was the King’s sacrifice.

Field Marshal Pibul Songkram lost power in the political fight against Gen Sarit Thanarat. He fled to Japan and died in exile there. He conceded the defeat and never plotted to destroy Thailand, although he had a capacity to do so. Given his power, he could easily have marshalled a military faction in support of him for a political comeback.

This was Field Marshal Pibul’s sacrifice.

Pridi Panomyong, the statesman, also lived in exile in China and later France after losing the political power. He conceded the defeat without blaming any one, at least openly. The stake of the country was higher than his own benefits.

This was Pridi’s sacrifice.

Field Marshal Thanom Kittikajorn, after the 1973 bloody incident, stepped down from power. He was the dictator with the most powerful. But he agreed to resign after the bloody incident for the sake of the country.

He was even more power than Thaksin or any leaders because Thailand in the early 1970s was still very underdeveloped without any institutions. He could easily have eliminated all of his political opponents easily with his guns and tanks.

But Field Marshal Thanom lived in seclusion without trying to reclaim the political power or plan any plot against his country.

This was Field Marshal Thanom’s sacrifice.

Gen Suchinda staged a coup and afterward he ran into the political crisis with the May 1992 tragedy. The military then under his regime was most powerful, unchallenged. But he agreed to step down for the sake of the country. He never plotted any ill plan against Thailand.

This was Gen Suchinda’s sacrifice.

Thaksin Shinawatra is the first to have violated the Thai leadership’s code of conduct. He would not concede a defeat even when it is over. He has been plotting ill plan against Thailand all along with his international and local PR machines.

He does not know how to make a sacrifice.

Thanong Khanthong

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