National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, February 12, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
Today, I would like to update you on the achieved progress of the government and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Please take a look back and consider what we have finished, what we have initiated, what problems we have fixed and resolved, what we are currently rectifying, and what we need to continue doing.
After 22 May 2014, the NCPO has brought back peacefulness and stability to the country. We were able to unlock the impasse that derived from political and social conflicts, including democratic processes, so that the country could move forward and continue making progress. We took on every issue that needed addressing, including unresolved legal cases which have now been brought under judicial procedures.
As for national administration, we encountered many accumulated problems that needed urgent attention such as the ivory trade, human trafficking, illegal fishing, civil aviation problems, and outdated laws and regulations – all of which affected Thailand’s standing on the world stage , in terms of international trade and investment as well. Furthermore, there were a number of domestic issues that required urgent action involving national security, investor confidence, corruption, distressed farming communities, disorder in society, our transport system, and the lack of an integrated working system. I have mentioned previously that this integration must take place between people, officials, working plans, projects, and funds. This is to ensure efficiency and productivity of the work. Much progress has been achieved in this area since. Another problem has been the arrears suffered by our state enterprises, not to mention transparency in their working systems. The government is addressing all these problems at the moment. It will take some time so resolve these fundamental problems because rushing things would only bring back problems in the future. We are content with how things are moving so far. In addition, the government and the NCPO have taken on the responsibility of national administration during a global economic slowdown. This means that we have and will work even harder to prepare for the future by trying to build national resilience and help those in distress so that we can all overcome this difficult period and then stimulate the economy. Therefore, the government, the NCPO, the legislature, the reform body, and the charter drafting team are taking on all issues they can now. Many issues have been addressed. Many issues need continual effort. This is the reason why I need to talk to you every day. After 1-2 years, you might have forgotten already what has been achieved.
In terms of national reform, the most important factor is to have coordination on all related issues from the very beginning, starting at the drafting of the 20-year national strategies, the 5-year social and economic development plans, national security policies, ministerial plans and other reform plans. The national reform plan must be in accordance with the NESDB’s development plans. National reform is divided into different phases. The first phase has started and will end in 2017. This has coincided with the 12th NESDB plan. Whatever included in the 12th plan will be implemented by this year. Today, the government is laying down fundamentals. I only have a little bit more than a year left. After 2017, the 12th plan will be fully implemented. Now we need to know that will happen between 2017 and 2021, 2022 and 2026, 2027 and 2031, and 2032 and 2036. This is our 20-year strategic plan. We then look back at how we will put forth the 12th plan to the 15th plan. These plans will be evaluated every 5 years and will be continued by next administrations based on appropriateness.
National reform takes continuous effort as some matters could take up to 20 years while other matters could be done within 1-5 years. Some matters could even take longer than expected, given the constantly changing global conditions. We don’t know what will happen in the next 20 years. What we can do to day is prepare for those anticipated changes. Therefore, national administration in every country must always be able to adapt to changing world circumstances and make the necessary preparations. There must be action plans. We must have the ability to come up with different possible circumstances and draw up action plans accordingly. Normally, advance or operational plans are implemented while action plans are considered only when necessary. Basically, it is a contingency plan and only happens when the advance or the operational plan needs adjustment. In this respect, I want to point out that you cannot rush the national reform process. Even the major world powers never stop reforming themselves. Poverty and social inequality exist everywhere in the world. Some have more poor people than us. But they also have more rich and medium income people. Due to differences, large nations are trying to distribute total wealth because failure to do so would only fuel conflicts and social disparities.
A key problem for many nations is the issue of low income and debts. Thailand is certainly facing this issue. We must solve these issues. However, we cannot address every single aspect at the same time because it will take a lot of money. Problems must be addressed at the upstream, midstream and downstream. We are in a value chain in which we all depend on each other. We need to support one another. This has to happen in Thai society. Stability should come from inside our society, starting with communities, provinces, and regions, before crossing borders. We must work in the form of the “state of the people”, adopting the concept in public administration and provincial administration. Everyone should to work and cooperate together. I would like to inform the NGOs that I seek your understanding on how a country must move forward and make progress on certain matters. Therefore, we should always think of the consequences of our actions. Will it lead to gains or losses? How can we help those who stand to lose? Will the benefit go back to the community? This is what you should consider. Otherwise, often when there is no progress, the government is then accused of failing. I have not seen any government achieve true progress when there was an ongoing conflict. Therefore changes must be made and different methods must be introduced from now. We cannot keep doing things on the same basis as things will not improve and our lower income populations will continue to be distressed.
If you study the diagram of the relation between the 5 rivers or agents of reform, you can understand the scale of the tasks ahead of us. Please take a look at this diagram. You will see that we have achieved substantive progress on many issues since May 22. Everything is making progress in accordance with the Roadmap. Some work has been done while some will soon commence. You can understand all of the plans being approached in the 6 main aspects. They are overseen by deputy prime ministers and 19 ministries. This is why we need cooperation from all sectors, especially political parties. Politicians elected by the people should respect people’s rights and opinions. Help them every way you can. Don’t wait until you’ve been asked. Don’t just help your own supporters. It would go against democratic principles if you choose to not be fair.
All these tasks shall be guided by the constitution and fundamental laws, so that they can be carried out by the next administration without causing further problems to our nation. These tasks concern national reform, a national strategy, and national security. These matters cannot be handled on an ad-hoc basis. There has to be continuity and direction. We need to utilize all these plans to our advantage; otherwise there will be problems in administration. I understand that the next governments may not have confidence in our methods. But let me say that if you think that our approach will cause difficulties for you, perhaps you should really consider that your difficulties will lie in you not being able to devote your efforts to the nation. The main hardship you will face is your ability to sacrifice for the people. I do not anticipate you having a difficult time spending the budget. But you should administer the country with an approach that is in line with the national strategic plan, the national reform plan, and the national security plan. Then you can achieve what you set out to achieve. You will have your own policies while we have all these national reform goals stipulated. It is up to you whether these plans will be implemented, but if not, then you will need to explain to the law makers and the people of the reason you choose not to follow the roadmap. I will not be able to set things in motion anymore or to compel you to take certain actions in the future. Therefore we all need to create national resilience, ensure national security, build confidence, and foster trust so that the country’s competitiveness can be improved. Do it for the people. We need to improve the country’s competiveness, ensure national security, create stability, and improve our economic infrastructure, agriculture sector, industrial sector, and trade and investment sectors. The country must be strong from within as suggested by His Majesty the King, starting with villages, provinces, regions, borders, CLMV, ASEAN, and so on.
Therefore, the government is formulating a long-term 20-year plan. The plan doesn’t have to include a lot of details. But the plan will serve as a guideline to steer the country. It concerns all reform agendas. The NESDB has also developed a plan that goes along with the roadmap. It can be changed every 5 years if necessary. The plan concerns water management, infrastructure development, etc. We need to understand now what the country needs in the next 20 years. How much have be really achieved? And what will be in the next 5 years? What will happen in local communities and how shall wealth be distributed? We need an efficient system for the distribution of income. Whether or not the next government chooses to follow the plan is up to the two assemblies. I don’t know who will come to make the final decisions. But you must create understanding in society first. If you try your best to not create conflict our problems, you will not have to be wary of anyone or anything. If you are honest, nothing can harm you. But you will not be able to solve any problem if conflicts drag on. You need to follow the national strategic plan. You need to distinguish the strategic plan from policies of your party. What is the government’s policy? The people also need to scrutinize the work of the government so that our country can achieve stability, prosperity, and sustainability. People are the center. We must reduce social gaps and foster justice for all. If this happens, the people can anticipate their future and for instance, children born in 2017 will be able to have plans for the next 20 years. We will understand what they have to study in order for them to develop their skills and be ready for when they become 20 years of age. This is my thinking. It is up to you whether this idea will be useful.
Every government draws its policies from evaluating existing problems and by clearly separating them into main problems, minor problems, and supporting problems. Once problems exacerbate, you will need to look into each and every problem, with the people as the center. Along the way, the government manages its operations based on good governance, while overseeing spending, and carrying out relevant projects. If we did not address the problems along the way, Thailand will not have stability. Therefore, we need to reform every agency, every structure, every process, so that Thailand can achieve prosperity.
In order to increase the country’s competitiveness, we must have a clear goal. We must have risk reduction measures, strategies, and contingency plans that coincide with circumstances in today’s world where everything changes rapidly. Many agencies under the United Nations or other communities have the same goal. Everyone has their own strategies. We can learn from them, so that we can have a backup plan and prepare for future changes, be they global warming, natural disasters, droughts, conflicts, or any other security threats. Therefore, we must develop our strategies based on internal and external factors and the changes around us. We need to prepare and make ourselves strong.
In terms of the economy, the impact is being felt every country, especially Thailand. Thailand houses a large number of low income earners. 30 to 40 million people in the country are either agriculturists or self-employed. Low-income earners have to make a living and support their family. They may not be able to look into the details of what the complete economic systems entails. We need to inform them of the true meaning of it or what it relates to. The economy relates to exports, imports, taxes, revenue, micro-economy, macro-economy, and all sizes of businesses. Everything is in support of each other. At the same time we cannot keep giving money handouts to the people. Where will this money come from? The government is doing everything it can in this area. We must find a way to ensure sustainable growth without. It is always problematic when people turn out to be unreasonable and base their actions only on their own benefit. It is counterproductive to encourage this kind of thinking. We need to foster a culture where we all think of what is good for the whole. If we face problems, we will encounter them together through each other’s support. You should understand the relation between internal and external factors such as injustice, inequality, external factors, the economic structure, and the stability of the government, the private sector, and the people.
The government and the NCPO see that the work between relevant agencies should be synchronized on the common issues such as for water, agriculture, the economy, trade, investment, and the industrial sector. We need to ease investment activities through the revision of legislation, offering privileges and increasing investment incentives in accordance with the economic reform plan. Many tasks cannot be completed by a single organization but will need collaborative efforts such as in water management, which requires the work between the ministries of agriculture, interior, and natural resources. Working separately will not solve the problem. We need to formulate a new budget plan, new structures, and increase cooperation. Starting from this year, I will put everything into a new budget structure. Urgent matters will be finished first. Tasks that can be finished at the same time will be spearheaded now. We must ensure that our measures meet the needs of the people, even though every single request cannot be tended to.
What I have just been talking about relates to the new Budget Act which is currently going through a drafting process. Achievements will not take place should everyone work separately. Today, all agencies must join hands and move along with the Roadmap. Take water management for example. Let’s say every ministry proposes their ideas to the cabinet at the same time and pushes for agreements for the same time period. This is not too difficult. Let me know if you disagree with the idea. It also builds trust and allows inspections to be conducted easily.
The next matter is about creating public understanding. The government has taken every measure to create public understanding on issues despite attempts to distort the truth by certain groups. At the same time, we have not disallowed genuine comments. But it is important to respect the law and express yourself in the right way and without damaging others. But if you do otherwise, people will only misunderstand the truth while you often do not take responsibility of your actions. Some people have even given distorted information to the foreign press. People with different viewpoints should be able to find common ground. Offenders cannot be pardoned for their crimes by claiming their action was based on a right. They will often distort the truth for their own gain.
This is an example of seeking only personal gain where people only think of how they can outshine others, trying to make more money than others, or trying to become important figures. This is a problem in Thailand. Many other societies and countries have moved beyond this trait. We must do things differently from now. People should wait around for handouts, or keeping doing the same job, deny new technologies and knowledge, or inefficiently use resources. When is it going to be enough? When will we be strong? Please heed the government’s advice.. Please help the government set the right path.
I would like you to understand that we are trying to build a better future for Thailand. National reform is difficult. We have 37 reform agendas. You will see them in the report. The government has started all of them. However, our efforts would not be successful if your conflicts continue and this will cause problems for the referendum and general elections.
I ask some members of the press to avoid reporting only about violence, with gruesome pictures involving murders etc., or pictures of those who are suffering. It doesn’t do anybody good. You might be able to sell those stories, but it damages our society and the country. When police make an arrest, can you wait until the judicial process is finalized before reporting on the case?
If you only focus on selling sensationalism through graphic pictures, this will have an impact on the country’s image too. It seems that these stories are always on the front page, as if you were there when the crime was committed. What about the victims? Please be sensitive and respect their privacy and rights.
We are doing everything in our capacity to ensure Thailand’s future. The government and the NCPO have launched several infrastructure projects such as rail construction. We are trying to connect trains, electric trains, electric buses, and rubber-tyred metros. We are planning to bring electric rail to outskirts of towns where there is no traffic congestion. We should have electric trams like other countries. We need to connect all the dots so that people can commute easily, especially at tourist destinations. Nonetheless, we cannot do much in crowded places. This is why we need to restructure our cities and extend perimeters. We must build new metro cities. It also aims to reform the country’s rail system. We must improve our potential in terms of mass transit system, solving trafficking jams, and reducing pollution. Old cars release a lot of carbon dioxide which goes into the earth’s atmosphere. Our goal is to keep the temperature from increasing by less than 2%. We already agreed on this with other countries. We must connect Bangkok to other cities and towns. There should be parking garages along the transportation routes. Without an effective transit system, everyone will need to drive their own car, producing massive pollution. People have to be able to commute to places by rail. Without parking garages, people will worry about their vehicles. Without rail, there will be congestion on every road. Parking is also a big problem for drivers. I asked responsible agencies to build underground parking garages in order to ease the traffic, especially places people go to. It would be ideal if we had underground parking or automated and mechanical parking systems like other countries. I would like to ask the private sector to join this project. I ask that large enterprises invest in this new parking system. You can consult the Ministry of Finance about underground parking projects. You can also build garages in business areas. To my knowledge, I remember that it would cost around 2-3 million baht to build a parking spot. Therefore, it would cost 600-700 million baht for 200 vehicles. I don’t know if it’s worth it or how much would it really cost today. Please consult construction experts.
There are 10 railway projects in Bangkok. They consist of the purple line: Bang Yai to Tao Poon line. This has been completed and will commence with full transportation in May, 2016. I’ve ridden on this as well. It will officially open on August of 2016 in commemoration of the Birthday Anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen. The blue line from Hua Lampong – Bang Kae and Bang Sue to Ta Prah have completed construction by 70%. The project will feature the first underpass under the Chao Phraya River. It will open in April of 2019. The 3rd line is the southern green line from Bearing to Samut Prakan which has completed construction by 70% and will open in February of 2018. The northern green line form Mo Chit to Kukod will open in February of 2020. The red line from Bang Sue to Rangsit is 50% complete and will open in September of 2020. The light red line from Bang Sue to Phaya Thai to Makkasan to Hua Mak and the dark red line from Bang Sue to Hua Lampong are currently under consideration. The eastern orange line from Thailand Culture Center to Minburi has been approved and has commenced contract bidding from January 2016 and will commence construction in 2017 with plans to open at the end of 2020. The orange line marks Bangkok’s first east to west horizontal line. When completed, this line can be used to connect to the red, blue, airport link and pink lines. It will accommodate around 500,000 passengers per day. The 8th line, the pink line from Minburi to Kerai, and the 9th line, the yellow line from Lad Prao to Samrong will be monorail tracks. We will push for their opening in 2020. This is a joint project between the government and the private sector and is under the PPP committee’s consideration. The 10th line is the southern purple line from Tao Poon to Rat Burana. The line will be 20 kilometers long and extend past the inner Rattanakosin Island which is an important historic and tourist site. This line is under the consideration of the EIA and Rattanakosin Island itself.
We also have plans to construct 1 meter gauge dual railway tracks. This means that there are two sets of tracks for two trains to run past each other. This means that there are actually 4 single rails. We currently have over 4,000 kilometers of single railway tracks. We need to add another 905 kilometers of tracks to double up on certain tracks, especially around the special economic zones in order to enhance efficiency and accommodate the transport of heavy goods. This will also be used as a mode of economical transportation for the public and to enhance safety. We will also be able shorten travel time because we won’t need to wait for any merging. There are 2 new tracks that have commenced construction since December 2015. The Chachoengsao to Kaeng Koi route should be complete in 2018 while the Chira Intersection to Khon Kaen route will be complete in 2019. There are 4 more routes that are awaiting the EIA’s consideration which are Prachuap Khiri Khan to Chumphon, Mapkabao to Chira Road, Nakhon Pathom to Hua Hin and Lopburi to Pak Nam Pho. Once they are approved, they will be forwarded to the Cabinet for approval as well.
Our current tracks are using the standard meter gauge. The 1.435 gauges are for the trains of the future which will be high speed railways. I’ve already told you that we cannot reach that level yet. The usage capabilities are not there yet. However we are constructing tracks to prepare for high speed trains in the future. So today we are just using medium speed trains. This is the difference. Not everyone will understand. Lots of things have been changed such as the pricing, the stations and the length of the trains. Go look at the details. People keep thinking that we’re corrupt and that we’re only helping ourselves. Why don’t you look at why we’ve come in and what our intentions are? Give us your suggestions and I will investigate. Please don’t base your judgments according to the rumors given by some press. Everyone has been treated fairly. The Thai-Chinese cooperation on the Bangkok to Kaeng Khoi route will only be used for personnel transportation. The Nong Khai to Nakhon Ratchasima to Kaeng Khoi to Map Ta Phut will be used for both personnel transpiration and goods transportation. There used to be plans to develop the entire route but we can no longer move forward with that because some parts are not ready because they’ve been encroached upon and must first be expropriated among other things. This is why you need to understand why we can’t just do something and why some things are slow. In the past, when they want to do something, they just did it regardless of consequences. So please understand our intentions. We are building 1.435 gauge tracks for the future because we will definitely be them due to their width and therefore the train’s ability to carry more weight. This is not just to be used domestically. If we don’t start now, then when will we? If we don’t have enough money today for certain routes, we can start with building the tracks and use medium speed trains for now. At least they are faster than our current trains. There needs to be investments here too. We’re not trying to feed any particular person’s pocket either. At the same time, have there been plans to develop our trade and investment system and innovation in tandem? If we haven’t we can lose our competitive edge whether we have a train system or not.
The next matter is the Thai – Japanese “Shinkansen” railway project spanning 672 kilometers from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for passengers. We’re still conducting feasibility studies in cooperation with Japan which is considered to have one of the safest railway systems in the world. The study should be complete in June of 2016. Right now we don’t know if we will have enough money or whether it will gain approval by the EIA or HEIA. There needs to be investments and we need to work together to figure out how this can happen. Maybe we can do this in increments. Sometimes a huge investment at once can be problematic.
The third matter is regarding the high speed train. We are considering joint-investments with the private sector according to the PPP fast track program. There are 2 projects being considered consisting of Bangkok to Hua Hin for 211 kilometers and Bangkok to Pattaya to Rayong for 193 kilometers. This will also focus on passengers. If it is built, tourists will be able to conveniently travel between these cities. If we can eliminate congestion in Bangkok by enabling people in Bangkok to be able to commute to Hua Hin in a timely matter or to Chiang Mai, this will create growth in the regions and boost employment opportunities so that we won’t have to compete for jobs in the big city as well. This is one of the reasons why we want to create connectivity with better infrastructure. There will be fast transportation of goods, services and personnel. We need to plan this for the next 20 years.
The next matter is the development of electric trains. Electric trains are trains that use electric batteries that need recharging. Please don’t misunderstand that the government will cancel its support of eco-cars. How can we cancel it? We’re the center of eco-cars. The world is using them and our exports are at a good level. This is the train for the future. Can we plan ahead and try buying some electric trains to try out? Can we create value to businesses and SMEs? These electric trains are the future. We can’t manufacture the entire train yet. But most importantly, we need to develop lithium batteries which are used for electric trains. Today we aren’t able to manufacture these ourselves. It will thus be expensive to use electric trains. Today, electric trains and buses are much more expensive than gas-powered ones because of the battery. Not only that, we still can’t manufacture the motor. We need joint partnerships from other countries in order to progress in the future.
Electric cars may also need to be introduced and be used by the general public. However we will need to work on the matter on their registration. We’ve switched to using gasohol or gas-powered cars but they don’t sell well because there are not enough gas stations for these fuel types. Therefore we need to enhance Thailand’s potential and enhance the credibility and cooperation between the government and the private sector. We are pushing for many things and there are studies for manufacturing electric vehicles in the future. We will use the ‘state of the people’ model in mobilizing this and elevating Thailand into an electric car manufacturer. We’re not sure yet how soon this can be achieved because the fuel sources in the future can change as well. We don’t know what the oil situation will be like. But if we don’t prepare ourselves for future changes, there will be problems. Today we need to conduct studies and research in order to bring prices down and so that we don’t have to keep importing vehicles. That way, we can actually consider electric trains that will help solve the problem of green house gases. If we can reduce global warming and be fuel efficient, the people will be happier.
This change is also one of our reform agendas for becoming a transportation hub. Many countries want to invest in Thailand’s railway projects to make the country a hub in train manufacturing. Today we are an automobile hub. We’ve reconsidered the use of buses by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority. It hasn’t been able to procure its desired 3,183 natural gas-powered buses. Today, we’re changing to 500 electric buses. We may need to rent the 200 to be expected next year. We’ll test the use of these buses. If they are good, we can look into producing them ourselves or assembling them domestically. We’ve used oil and gas in the past. Right now we’re trying to fix this.
Our efforts to solve traffic congestion and pollution must be done like how other countries are doing them. If we have and effective intercity transportation system, it would help relieve the current congested state. We used to have a light rail system but now they’ve all been moved to the outskirts of the city. Maybe we can adopt a light rail system like in New York, Tokyo, London and Paris or a city tram like in Germany, the Netherlands and Texas or a monorail like Sydney or Las Vegas. Let’s see if we can implement any of these things. What we are trying to do is service the people. We’re doing this by using a single card system for every mode of transportation. We’re currently moving forward with this. Also, regarding the welfare for those with low income, let’s see if we can do this by having a registry system or not. The committee that is tasked with implementing this needs to follow through with this policy. We need to truly consider the feasibility of projects. Sometimes when things aren’t implemented, people only criticize on social media without first looking at the reason. Also, the design of various facilities needs to be universally accessible. This means appropriate accommodation for the disabled and the elderly as well as veterans, pregnant women and young children.
As for the trans-city highway project that will aid in traffic flow, especially during long holidays, this consist of the Pattaya to Map Ta Phut route which will finish in 2019, the Bang Pa-in to Nakhon Ratchasima route which will finish in 2020 and the Bang Yai to Kanchanaburi route which will also be completed in 2020.
Finally, the drafting of the new constitution has been a contentious political issue especially in the past few weeks. Let them draft the constitution while we figure out how we can hold a public referendum. Let’s think about the problems of the country. One group is demanding, one group wants reform and one group doesn’t care.
Democracy is not the only thing that will move the country forward. But we cannot make progress if we look at things the way we have before and conflict on all matters. So let’s see what is according to international standards and needs to be revised.
How can we scrutinize and eliminate corruption? How can we resolve conflict? What happens during a political deadlock and when the government can’t function? The authors of the constitution are taking these matters into consideration. We are not trying to hamper the powers of the executive branch. We just want to create some transparency and prevent conflicts from recurring.
Therefore let us do our best not to revert to our conflicting ways, with the use of violence, weapons, and the authorities not being able to do their job.
If we allow subversive movements or unscrupulous politicians to influence the country, it will be the hindrance to our progress. In many ways this is another pitfall of democracy and a middle income country trap. It will be failure that can’t be resolved even by the government or NCPO or any agency for that matter. The people of the country, all 70 million of us must help each other and put the interests of the country first.
Among all the problems we are facing, the most severe include the drought, poverty, inequality, low agriculture output, the lack of technology and capital coupled with high fixed costs the agricultural sector. We have policies to deal with these issues. Some policies provide assistance measures while others create resilience and others create a new production networks. There needs to be money put in all sectors and activities. We need to revise our import and export system as well as our taxation policies. Don’t just only think of your own profit or your own interests. We need to think of the bigger picture which incorporates small, medium and large businesses throughout the production process. Prosperity can be enjoyed by all through social consciousness. Adherence to His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy philosophy which promotes self-sufficiency, prudence, moderation, and resilience is also vital. His Majesty’s philosophy is to connect the communities and create a safe, stable and prosperous society. What is important is the public’s respect for public property and laws as well as the justice system. The people must know their rights, duties and freedoms according to the law while not infringing upon other people’s rights and freedoms. This is a foundation of democracy. It is not only about elections and the will of the majority while ignoring the minority and demanding only your rights without helping others becoming strong as well. I understand that the deliberate spreading of false information in the media as well as online may be an offense. I will have to check on whether it breaks the law – the dissemination of information without factual evidence this way.
On February 14-18, I will attend the ASEAN-US Summit in California. I will report back with the details and results of the meeting. For the Thai people in California who will be welcoming me and giving me encouragement, I thank you. Please understand that I am doing this for all Thai people and for the country. Please maintain peace and orderliness for the sake of our country. This past week has been Chinese New Year’s and I wish everyone happiness on this occasion. During Valentine’s Day, I have some concerns for those celebrating this event, so please be responsible when going out to venues. Please be respectful to each other. We should uphold our beautiful traditions and culture as we take part in other cultural festivities too. Thank you and may you have wisdom, love, camaraderie, success, security and happiness.