Prem launches strong attack on Thaksin
Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda has launched an attack on ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra for instigating political unrest which he says bodes ill for the country.
Gen Prem, a former prime minister and head of the armed forces, yesterday was asked to comment on Thaksin’s backing of an anti-government movement from outside the country.
“It’s not good [for the country],” he said.
It was Gen Prem’s first public statement since the Songkran riots in which he was named as a target by the anti-government, pro-Thaksin red shirts.
Thaksin has accused Gen Prem of masterminding the Sept 19, 2006 coup which drove Thaksin from power and into self-imposed exile.
The head of His Majesty the King’s advisory council said he never thought he would have so many enemies wanting to use violence against him.
Asked if he may be in danger amid the continuing political uncertainty, Gen Prem said: “I have no idea. But please make a note that I say I don’t have enemies and never consider anyone my enemy.
“Even Thaksin is not my enemy.”
The privy council president believed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s strong determination to straighten out the nation’s problems would restore peace. Mr Abhisit has the support of many people.
Gen Prem said he prayed to Phra Siam Devathiraja, the Thai guardian angel, to inflict misfortune on individuals hostile to the country.
“I like to pray to Phra Siam Devathiraja to protect the young, bring peace to our country and deliver misfortune to people with ill intentions towards the country,” he said while yesterday presiding over the opening of the San Jai Thai Su Jai Tai (Uniting Thai Hearts for the South) project for youth in southern provinces.
He was accompanied by fellow privy councillor and former prime minister Surayud Chulanont, who has also been accused by Thaksin of masterminding the Sept 19, 2006 coup.
He said those with ill intentions still had time to turn over a new leaf.
The social commentator, Prawase Wasi, yesterday urged Thaksin to be more mindful of his actions if he wanted to achieve happiness.
He said the former prime minister had brains but lacked mental strength. These qualities had landed him in the trouble he is in.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of national security, said attempts were continuing to get the United Arab Emirates to extradite Thaksin.
Thaksin has been sentenced to jail for two years for corruption over the Ratchadaphisek land deal which involved his former wife, Khunying Potjaman Damapong.
Mr Abhisit also said the Foreign Ministry was seeking the cooperation of the UAE to extradite Thaksin.
The former prime minister is reported to have invested in a business in the Gulf state. The government is awaiting a reply from Abu Dhabi.
An assistant to the foreign minister, Panich Vikitsreth, said the foreign ministries of the two countries had exchanged drafts of an extradition treaty.
Thaksin not my enemy, Prem says
Chief royal adviser General Prem Tinsulanonda yesterday said he had never viewed ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra as an enemy in spite of his relentless attacks.
“Thaksin is not my enemy and I think he should cease his political activities in order to bring about peace in the country,” the Privy Councillor said.
Prem said the red shirts would eventually understand him and that they were free to express their opinions so long as they did not violate any law.
“I believe in the kindness of Thai people who care for one another and all hostile views from certain individuals will eventually pass.”
He urged all parties to try not to involve the monarchy in politics.
In regard to recent clashes, he said he was confident that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva could steer the country out of the political crisis, as the majority of people would rally behind his leadership.
Thailand’s guardian angel was proven time and again to have safeguarded the country and he expected it to punish hostile individuals.
Prem was making a veiled attack on individuals involved in triggering the Songkran mayhem during his speech to launch a programme to foster the understanding among young Muslims from the South.
“I like to pray to the Thai guardian angel to protect young people from the South, to safeguard the nation and inflict misfortune on individuals hostile to their own country,” he said.
Thaksin should quit politics for the country’s sake: Prem
He said the red shirts would eventually understand him and that they were free to express their opinions so long as they did not violate any law.