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PM Yingluck Shinawatra opts to go ahead with the amnesty bill

Thailand on Course for Trouble as PM Yingluck Backs Amnesty Bill

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
PHUKET: The prospect of more intense political conflict in Thailand grew today as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra made a nationally televised speech and announced her intention to pursue the contentious Amnesty Bill.

The next move will be up to the bill's opponents who have massed in Bangkok streets and staged protests in Phuket and many provinces around the country.

Academics and professionals in Thailand have expressed their opposition to the bill, which comes before the Senate on November 11.

Tourists from sensitive countries including China and Japan are likely to begin cancelling visits to Thailand following today's announcement.

Declining to back away, Khun Yingluck urged senators to support the bill ''for Thailand's future harmony.'' She called on stakeholders ''to forgive each other.''

She said it was the role of MPs to carry out the move to bring harmony to Thailand, where the divide between ''red'' government and ''yellow'' opposition remains strong.

The amnesty grants pardons to many corrupt officials and opens the door to the return of fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the present PM's brother, who remains a powerful force despite his absence from Thailand since 2006.

Khun Yingluck, dressed in sombre grey and surrounded by key ministers, told Thais today that she intended to pursue the amnesty.

''It doesn't mean we will forget,'' she said. ''But we have to look to the future, not the past.''

So far the bill appears to have splintered ''red'' supporters, with the issue now broader than the usual political divisions.

The Government pushed through the bill on Halloween night and protests have been springing up around the country ever since.

A protest on Phuket on Sunday drew a large crowd of 5000 from all walks of life. Many of the crowd, like protesters in other provinces, immediately heading for Bangkok where thousands remained on the streets today.

By speaking out today, Khun Yingluck put herself firmly behind the bill. Until now, she has carefully avoided being seen to be too supportive, leaving it to MPs to drive the process forward.

Some observers see thie amnesty as an all-or-nothing bid to return Khun Thaksin to Thailand, where he would quickly resume his powerful position.

However, one New York Times reporter noted today that even traditional Thaksin supporters see that the amnesty is already splintering his support.

Khun Yingluck was due to head to Pattaya this afternoon to comfort Thais and tourists injured in a ferry capsize that killed six people, including two Russians and a man from Hong Kong, two days ago.

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So the velvet gloves are off. Ignore the crocodile tears. The Shinawatras are making their move. Forget what the analysts state on timing & initial public reaction. Thaksin does not make many mistakes & assuredly does not repeat them.

Posted by Logic on November 5, 2013 14:08

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What Thailand needs to see justice and accountability reaching every level of the social ladder.

To "forgive" just makes a mockery of the judicial system.

This "reconciliation" attempt has the exact opposite effect, making clear the high and mighty can get away with everything. Even if caught, tried and convicted, just seize power and pardon yourself.

I sure hope the common Thai people will have had enough of this and will revolt en masse.

A pivotal point in Thai society.

Thailand - quo vadis ?

Posted by ThaiMike on November 5, 2013 14:23

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PM Yingluck calls for "national harmony," but it is her and her push for the "amnesty bill" that causes disharmony, just how think can she be. We see crocodiles off Phuket, now we see "crocodile tears" from the PM. Her obsession, with getting her convicted brother back, is tearing Thailand apart. It is a pity that she and her ruling cronies, can not see this, either that or they simply do not care. Is Thaksin more important than Thailand?

Posted by Laurie.Howells on November 5, 2013 15:28

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Just what it is, the elite in Thailand can get away with anything.

1976 Thammasaty University Massacre, the 1992 Black May protests, no authority was ever held responsible and the government wants to do it this way again. Just opens the opportunity for it to happen again and again cos no one needs to be responsible for whatever happens when state of emergency is called. In a mob you can do anything and let the government create a new law for you.

Even the Santika Pub fire where the owners got off scot free. That was unbelievable.

The powerful and the elite truly run this country according to their cowboy rules.

Posted by May on November 5, 2013 15:42

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The main cause of all troubles, in Phuket and Thailand at large, is the greedy corruption amongst from low-paid officers up to senior civil servants at the highest positions in all ministries.

On top of this you have a corrupt and inefficient bureaucracy and clans of politicians who are only interested in power and money.

Anyone amongst civil servants willing to fight corruption is transfered to another province or to a non-active position to block those good civil servants.

Another cause that corruption will not be erased, is that all comments from different senior civil servants in charge to eradicate automatic bribes for any protection from local administration, confirmed that they do not want to arrest Thai people such as wrongdoers, fraudsters, land-grabbers, mafia-clans in charge tuk-tuk and taxi cartels or at worst a slap on the hand to save the face.

We see the current generation struggling on a daily basis to make ends meet.

Thailand lacks good education, healthcare, pension, preservation of the environment, occupational safety, law and order and so on.

Thais will never accept advice and help because deep down there is a hatred against individuals, entities, objects and ideas.

Anyway, media forums and magazines online are doing a good job to publish their bad behaviors and names of those predators and one day Thai people may say once at all that the game is over....WE HOPE.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on November 5, 2013 17:30

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May....the elite in any country will get away with anything...unfortunately for us "common" folk...thats what we have to battle with everyday

Posted by sky on November 5, 2013 18:12

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Have you forgotten the country is in mourning that's why she's in 'somber grey.' Beyond belief that this garbage will pass into law. The country will have to hand back the billions confiscated from the ex Man City owner.

Posted by gee on November 5, 2013 19:06

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Thailand needs an John Edgar Hoover. Otherwise without changing the attitude Thailand will fell back on its way to included institutions and prosperity will vanish as it did with so many civilizations in the past. An amnesty could be good to restart. But the amnesty should be that the one who take it, has first to confess to his/hers deeds and then would be given the mercy of the public and banished from public office for life.

Amnesties should not be made easy to get. Then they are worth NOTHING.

Posted by Lena on November 6, 2013 01:35

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@Lena, the problem with this amnesty bill is that it does NOT serve Thailand, it only serves those with power and influence as well as a convicted criminal, who is "on the run," from justice, and who, for some reason, still holds a Thai passport.

Posted by Laurie Howells on November 6, 2013 08:56

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@Sky, your comment is that of a child and completely wrong. There are many countries where some criminal "elite" have been charged, jailed and even executed e.g. China, the US the Nuremburg trials a bit of research will through up a lot more, perhaps you should try it.

Posted by Laurie Howells on November 6, 2013 11:09

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@laurie, thiamine,may, gee and whoever else here refer to the reconciliation bill, , please provide a link to the english version of the bill as my Thai, that is not bad, was not good enough to understand the Thai version completely..you guys have obviously read it so give us the link so that we can all be smarter ....

Posted by Sailor on November 6, 2013 12:20

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I disagree with this amnesty bill for one reason, Nurse Betty. Abhisit the Annihilator needs to be tried for her and the other's deaths. Seems to me Thailand votes for the Thaksin family consistently. Are they using touch screen electronic ballots or something else? Otherwise, don't see the problem with this administration's mandate.

Posted by Christy S on November 6, 2013 14:41


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