Street market in Brickfields

Photograph by Zashnain. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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Former Thai PM Yingluck sets conditions for Democrat trio to end defamation case

Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has demanded three Democrat Party members keep their apology statement on Facebook until the day the Supreme Court reads out the final ruling.

The former prime minister sued Thepthai Senapong, Chavanont Intarakomalyasut and Sirichok Sopha in 2014 for defaming her with remarks aired on the Sai Lor Fa television programme on the Democrat-affiliated Bluesky channel on Feb 10 and 15, 2012 about her visit to the Four Seasons Hotel for a private meeting earlier that month.

The Criminal Court sentenced the three former MPs to one year in jail, suspended for two years, and a fine of 50,000 baht. The Appeal Court upheld the ruling in 2016. The Supreme Court ordered them to meet on Oct 19 for the final reading.

On Friday, Mr Sirichok posted an open letter on behalf of the three apologising Yingluck for their behaviour on his Leky Sopha Facebook account.

Their uncharacteristic move initially surprised everyone since they had always been vocal critics of the Shinawatra family. Later, speculation was rife they did so because at stake was their political career. If the Supreme Court hands down a jail term, they will not be able to run as MPs under the Section 98 of the 2017 constitution, which bans those imprisoned by a final court ruling from running 10 years after they have served time.

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Yingluck sets conditions for Democrat trio to end defamation case

Thai regime denies rumours of election delay

The government on Wednesday denied rumours that the much anticipated general election will be postponed for another two months, from Feb 24 next year to April 28.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon insisted the election is to be held on Feb 24 as previously stated, adding reports of a delay have no substance.

“The majority of members of the public want an election. So, let those who think the election will be postponed do whatever they like. But [as for me], there is no reason to have the election deferred,” he said.

Asked whether the election will be put on hold if new political turmoil erupts, Gen Prawit said he foresees no big problems other than some minor political conflicts. The rumor of a postponement resurfaced early this week.

On Tuesday, Tida Tawornseth, chief adviser to the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), raised doubts about whether the poll would be held in February as planned.

In a Facebook live broadcast, she said she was wondering why those four cabinet ministers who have joined the Palang Pracharath Party still insisted on holding their cabinet positions while at the same time working for the party.

 

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Regime denies rumours of poll delay

Political parties begin to plot course to Thai election

Political parties are upbeat about the prospects of the general election taking place on Feb 24 next year after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha invoked Section 44 to ease the ban on political activities.

Included in the order is the suspension of the current complex and time-consuming primary vote system in favour of a more streamlined process.

Gen Prayut  on Friday invoked Order No.13/2018 in his capacity as chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to allow parties to proceed with certain pre-election activities.

The order was published in the Royal Gazette on Friday, with immediate effect.

The new development followed His Majesty the King’s endorsement of two organic laws on the selection of senators and MP elections published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday.

The law on the election of MPs will come into effect after 90 days, on Dec 10, while the law on senator selection goes into force immediately.

On Dec 10, a royal decree will set a date for the poll, at which point the process of organising the next general election within 150 days will begin.

According to the new NCPO order, parties have the green light to hold some necessary activities to prepare for the election, but campaigning is still forbidden.

Its main thrust is that parties are now allowed to organise activities, including general assemblies, on condition that they inform the Election Commission (EC) at least five days in advance. Informing the EC is tantamount to obtaining permission from the NCPO, according to the order.

They may use electronic media to communicate with their members but they are not permitted to use digital platforms for actual election campaigning.

The order also suspends the much complained about primary voting system where members would have chosen the candidates they want to run in elections, which parties say are costly and time-consuming.

Instead, the order stipulates a more streamlined process for the next general election in which each party sets up a committee of four executives and seven members to select candidates. The panel will select and nominate candidates to party executives for approval.

The order also stipulates that the EC must finish redrawing constituencies within the 90-day period and declare the new constituency boundaries before the law on the election of MPs takes effect.

Democrat Party deputy leader and former MP for Rayong Sathit Pitudecha welcomed the easing of the political restrictions, saying the party will convene its first meeting of existing party executives on Monday, after which a general assembly will be called sometime in the next two weeks to amend party regulations to comply with the new constitution.

Mr Sathit said the fresh NCPO order paves the way for parties to resume activities, even though the ban on campaigning on social media remains.

However, Mr Sathit noted that canvassing for votes was different from expressing opinions to resolve problems.

“Canvassing for votes is expected to be allowed after the royal decree setting the poll date is declared … therefore, expressing opinions should not be considered campaigning,” Mr Sathit said.

Nikorn Chamnong, director of the Chartthaipattana Party, said the order has now “unlocked” activities, and he believes it is highly likely the general election will take place on Feb 24 next year as expected.

He said the party’s first move will be to recruit new members and it will then call a meeting of existing party executives shortly. The party plans to hold a general assembly on Sept 28 to review regulations and select new executives, Mr Nikorn said.

Meanwhile, Worachai Hema, a former Pheu Thai Party MP for Samut Prakan, said the easing of the political ban was still not enough.

He urged the NCPO to lift the ban totally so parties can travel to meet the people. ”Not totally lifting the ban gives the pro-Prayut party an advantage.” he said.

He referred to the Sam Mitr (Three Allies) group which has been travelling to the provinces to collect feedback from locals as to how the government can better respond to their needs, and reiterated accusations that the group has been courting politicians from other parties into the fold of a pro-regime political party.

“The Sam Mitr group has taken a clear stance to support Gen Prayut staying on in power and it has the chance to meet the people while other parties cannot. Refusing to lift the ban totally means giving the pro-Prayut party an advantage,” Mr Worachai said.

Deputy EC secretary-general, Sawaeng Boonmee said that the EC expects to finish redrawing constituencies in 60 days and will meet more than 100 parties on Sept 28 as originally scheduled.

Source Bangkok Post: Parties begin to plot course to poll

 

Bombs recovered in ThaiSouth made in Malaysia?

A police officer in southern Thailand has claimed improvised explosive devices seized there were made in Malaysia.

Security forces in the restive province have been instructed to intensify investigations over the seizure of 41 home-made bombs from a pickup truck in Narathiwat yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan wants the authorities to identify the culprits behind the bombs.

“The authorities need to find out who was responsible for bringing the bombs.

“They need to investigate more,” he told reporters today, adding that officers were also instructed to hunt and arrest a suspect who evaded arrest by fleeing into some jungle.

His statement came as Thai security forces in the southern provinces stepped up surveillance following the seizure of the bombs.

Narathiwat police chief Maj Gen Manas Sikamat was quoted as telling the local media today that the bombs were made in neighbouring Malaysia and were intended to harm security officers.

He, however, did not provide any evidence to back his claim about the origin of the bombs.

An unidentified Thai officer quoted by the local media claimed the PVC pipes used for the bombs were not available in Thailand.

Continue reading: FMT

Ex-Thailand PM Thaksin congratulates Dr Mahathir on #GE14 victory

Former Thailand prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra took to Twitter today to congratulate Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on his success following Pakatan Harapan’s win over Barisan Nasional yesterday.

The 68-year-old posted a series of tweets and only had positive things to say about Dr Mahathir.

“My sincere congratulations to Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on his spectacular comeback.

“The power of the people has spoken loud and clear that they do not only remember his outstanding legacy but needed his leadership,” he said of the then-fourth prime minister of Malaysia.

Continue reading: Yahoo News