National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, March 18, 2016
Good evening dear Thai citizens.
March 22nd is known as “World Water Conservation Day”. Water conservation is a global challenge facing us all. The day has been declared with the aim to raise public awareness about sustaining our precious water resources. People around the world use water in different ways and have different concerns about water supplies, whether it is water and forest conservation methods, access to fresh water and groundwater, chemicals and contaminants control, or garbage and sewage treatment. All of these factors can have negative impacts on our water resources and thus on production in agriculture and the industrial sector, not to mention on our biological health and safety.
The Thai people are considered very lucky to have His Majesty the King and Her Majesty the Queen as visionaries who have constantly concerned about the well-being of the people, and especially and our national feature as an agricultural country. Her Majesty the Queen once said “if the King is water; I will be a forest, a forest that is loyal to water” and “if the King builds a reservoir, I will build a forest”. These quotes have inspired many Royal projects that have benefited the people and the country. They have included the famous Royal rainmaking project, Kaem Ling Project, river basin development projects (Pa Sak Jolasid Dam, Khlong Tha Dan Dam, Khun Dan Prakan Chon Dam), Pa Rak Nam project, small basin projects (‘state of the people’ reservoir project), good hydration waste water projects, waste water treatment projects, Chaipattana aerators, forest conservation projects, small houses in a big forest project, wildlife conservation projects, and community food bank project, among others.
Today, each of us must do our part and take responsibility in water conservation. Not only do we have to use water more efficiently, we must also keep our water sources clean by not throwing waste and garbage into our water resources. We must also plant trees and protect forests for next generations to come.
The government has incorporated an integrated national water management plan into the country’s 10-year Strategic Plan. We will push forward the plan and make appropriate adjustments along the way.
We shall follow Their Majesties’ guidelines to rehabilitate our forests and address the problem of water shortages in villages, schools, and communities.
We will address the matter of water scarcity for our production sectors by developing our water sources such as rivers, underground water, reservoirs, and weirs.
We will work to prevent future flooding by dredging canals, restructuring our cities, and making sure that roads are not blocking waterways.
We need to better manage water resources in order to protect ecosystems and keep salt water at bay.
Water inside and outside irrigation zones will be managed through the adoption of information technology. The amount of water we have is limited, while the number of people increases every year, which will mean that the agricultural sector also needs more water. Changing global weather patterns have made rainfall less reliable as a water resource. Along with global warming, we will also have to handle severe natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
Lastly, we need to step up our efforts on land management, so as to allow the people to be able to make use of the land, which will help correct the problem of forest encroachment.
We are expediting our efforts to adapt our plans in accordance with today’s drought situation. Farmers are struggling. If we have no fresh water, more people will consequently struggle. Over the past two years, we have been preparing for this by informing the public. Please understand the factors that will help our country in times of drought. As you already know, we have a limited amount of water as forests have been encroached upon. Fewer trees lead to less rainfall. Also, we have not had enough water retention areas. Water distribution systems were also not compatible with certain areas. There was also no effective water management system.
This is why we need to find better measures to reduce future risks. The public and the agricultural sector must work together in managing water for consumption, for agriculture, and for the business sector while simultaneously protecting ecosystems. Our emphasis should be on drinking and consumption water. Drinking and consumption water must last until the next rainy season. Farmers have had to replace their crops with drought-tolerant ones.
We will dredge canals and waterways, build more retention basins where we store water and use it until the next rainfalls.
As well, we need to reform the country’s economic structure and be less dependent on revenue from exports. We need to rely on other sectors as well.
We need to focus on R&D, innovation, and produce and add value to our products. What is left after domestic consumption shall be exported. Costs must be reduced in order for us to gain competitiveness.
We need to restructure the agricultural sector, taking into consideration global demand and supply. We have to reduce the quantity of exported raw materials such as rice, sugarcane, cassava, and rubber, given the fact that the production cost in Thailand is comparatively higher, thus resulting in the reduction of Thailand’s competitiveness. Farmers will not make any profits if Thailand sells its products at low prices while costs remain high.
I would like everyone to understand these related issues. If the problem remains unfixed, the country’s revenue will decline. Drought and climate change can drastically affect people and farmers’ income. This is our challenge that we have to overcome. How can we overcome this problem? We can no longer conflict over water. We cannot use all the water for agriculture. We also cannot risk running out of drinking water. We cannot afford to run out of fresh water in any circumstance. 70 million people, including animals and plants in the country will be affected. Many sectors may need to recycle water. Thank you to those who are already doing so.
There are many other matters I need to talk to you about.
The private security business sector has recently submitted a petition about the promulgation of the Security Business Act, B.E. 2558, which has been enforced since March 5th, 2016. The act aims to improve private security businesses. We have a number of private security service providers, but many of them are not up to standard. The act helps to ensure that private security services are reliable. People should be able to have confidence in private security services they’re acquiring. They need to be assured that their lives and properties will be safe. This is why we have to set norms for enhancing the necessary skills of private security personnel. This will benefit society as a whole. I don’t mean to cause any inconveniences for private security companies, or security personnel. But I will need your cooperation. Private security companies must be legally registered, have a business license, and cooperate with officials in their areas.
All private security personnel must have Thai citizenship and must have qualifications equivalent to Mathayomsuksa 3, which is required by law. However I am aware that a lot of people in this field did not finish Mathayomsuksa 3. We will think of a solution for now, but in the future, it will be mandatory. The Labour Ministry and security-related agencies will go over this issue again and figure out a solution. There might be training courses for people working in private security. What should we do with those already working in private security but do not fit the requirements? How much time do we have to fix this problem? Most importantly, people seeking private security jobs must not have a criminal record of any kind.
I don’t want you to misunderstand the government’s intentions. We only want to uplift the standards of private security firms. Our standards are quite low in many aspects. We are making it better, but of course there may be problems along the way. Our standards must to be acceptable by all. Hiring private security is one of many methods to prevent crime and support the work of government officers. The police and military cannot look after everyone by being in every location. So, we will be flexible and prepare measures for changes that will eventually come. Please be patient. As for private security companies, don’t fire anyone yet. The government will find solutions during this transition and ensure fairness for everyone.
Next is about the mobilization of our economy. The government and the NCPO have adjusted the timeframe of many development projects. Many projects have been delayed for the past 5-10 years. Some projects were even called off due to misunderstanding and ongoing conflicts caused by the distortion of information. We have to prepare for any impact that may follow. This does not mean disregarding an environmental impact assessment (EIA). But we can go ahead with many aspects of a project such as finding partners, drafting terms of conference, and drafting employment agreements, before getting to the EIA. Interested parties can go over these agreements but papers cannot yet be signed until we have EIA or EHIA results in hand. If we do it in parallel, the economy should grow faster. Please rest assured that I will not take people’s health or the environment for granted. Other countries also have the same regulations. We only need to shorten the administrative process. If these projects don’t get a green light, there could be problems. I’m talking about infrastructure, reservoirs, etc. We should not have projects postponed indefinitely because of EIA or other processes. Everything shall be done simultaneously. Once the EIA results are satisfactory, agreements can then be inked. Everyone then can cooperate more. Local people also need to help each other understand these projects when the government provides you with information. Project managers will have to tell the local people about their projects and how they will be conducted. This is how people can understand us and what is at stake more. We must improve the quality of life of the people.
We are keen to launch many mega projects to improve infrastructure, irrigation, residences, hospitals, and natural disaster prevention mechanisms. We must make sure these systems are effective and carried out in a timely manner. They must be free of corruption. In the past, there are many things we couldn’t do. If you were in my position, you would understand that there are many issues involved. With such lingering problems, development projects will not happen. On the other hand the government cannot simply force these projects through, due to international health and safety standards among others. Given all this, everyone needs to cooperate, especially the stakeholders. There will be those who gain and lose in certain projects. We promise to take care of all stakeholders. We will conduct a thorough study on this. We cannot let one problem affect the whole project. I ask for all sectors to cooperate, to understand, and to come together and build stability from the inside. The government will push forward policies to assist low-income earners, trigger investment, and initiate mega infrastructure projects whose combined value accounts for more than 1 trillion baht. However these projects will not come to fruition if people reject them. If we are not well-prepared, it would take lots of time finding partners and drafting agreements. This is why we need to shorten it. Every process along the way must be more efficient. All responsible committees and all sides must help this process. Basic infrastructure concerns every commuter and the growth of our country. Everything is interconnected.
I want these projects to be most effective as well as efficient. The government is adamant to bring reforms to public administration. We will use the money and time in the most efficient way while maintaining the public’s interests.
The next matter is about foreign affairs, trade negotiations, and international treaties, all of which have impact on the economy. There are many problems and changes in this world. Are we ready in terms of penetrating new markets or signing the FTA or RCEP agreements? We have made some significant progress, much better than the past. We are also studying the PPP agreement. We must do the things that can be done now and then do the rest later. We have talked to representatives from many countries regarding these agreements. They seemed to be okay with the idea. They agreed to have certain things done now. I want these agreements to come to conclusion in the next 2 years.
The next government can carry on our efforts. The most important thing is that we must ensure our partners of our strategies. This is not something that can be done by one side alone. It all depends on the trust and faith we have towards leaders and governments that are able to uphold good governance. This is what the whole world is looking for. We need to look inside our country, CLMV countries, ASEAN, ASEAN +3 +6, the European Union, other western countries, African countries, island group countries, and Muslim group countries.
We are all in the same global economic cycle. We need to establish relations with these nations in the forms of upstream (production), midstream (processing), and downstream (markets). Together with these nations, we can produce, invest, and procure raw materials. I want everyone to understand the concept of GI products.
In the future, buyers will only make orders from producers who can provide information about the origins of their products. Different products are made in different locations. These products cannot be forged. They must be made in certain places only. This is very important. We must have our products registered or patented this way. At present, there are more than 20,000 items waiting to be patented.
I have instructed the Ministry of Commerce, the Department of Intellectual Property, and related agencies to get licenses for Thai products. These licenses will be required once trade agreements are made. I would like to thank the Ministry of Commerce for doing a very good job on this matter.
In the past, this effort was not tangible. If we don’t take this matter seriously now or if we don’t have a strategy, nothing will work to our advantage. We must do it now before it’s too late. If laws were not modernized, nobody would want to invest here. The one number threat that will drive investors away is political instability. If the country is not safe, if demonstrations are crippling, it is the country that loses. You must think of a way that will not destroy your beloved country.
These past 10 years, our major problems were not adequately fixed. I have made a start to do this already and this government has not favoured any position or group. Instead we have done everything in our capacity, with urgent matters taken on based on priority. There were a lot of problems we had to fix, especially problems that were left behind. People were not disciplined enough to fix their own problems. Then they would usually blame civil servants. Governments must administer with good governance.
What I have done today is to give civil servants policy guidelines and then monitor their work. I give them advice and help them find appropriate solutions to problems. So please be fair to them.
Past projects were launched in advantage of certain groups of people. There were not clear structures or blueprints. But this government is doing what was neglected in the past in order to lay down a firm foundation for Thailand. I have tried to make sure that my policies are not vague, nor do they disrupt projects or the flow of the work of civil servants. Let them make proposals and I will go over these proposals with the cabinet. I welcome every suggestion and complaint. At the same time, I have encouraged all civil servants. If this doesn’t happen, civil servants could lose their resolve. When their morale is low, what they do is only wait for orders. This happens when powers of the administration are exercised in the wrong way or when punishments are delivered to those failing to follow unethical orders. This is the problem the country must fix.
We must address this problem immediately. The coming of the NCPO may have caused some people to lose their vested interests. These people then attempt to distort the truth. I have to say it today because the public need to help each other and not be misled by these people.
Next is about reforming the justice system and engendering the respect for the rule of law. We need to accelerate this process especially while I’m still in office. Courts and independent organizations need to cooperate and help improve the system to make it reliable and trusted by all, Thais and internationally. We must do everything impartially. We shall no longer be accused of having double standards. Every stakeholder has to lend a helping hand. We will help those affected by the changing process. There are more than 10,000 cases that have not been resolved. Past governments had powers to appoint various positions. I do believe that these appointed individuals had good intentions and did what they were supposed to do. These agencies must now work together as they had their own rules and procedures. If the government intervenes, the justice system will be tainted. Confidence will be tarnished. If the decision was made in favor of one side, do you think these people should come back and run the administration? I don’t think that would be a good idea. If this thing is allowed to continue, our country will not move forward. Other countries would not want to have relations with us if we 1) didn’t rule with honesty and transparency, 2) didn’t respect the law and the justice system, 3) didn’t have good governance, 4) didn’t implement the right policy as we cannot ignore our responsibilities and blame others for our own mistakes, 5) manipulated the work of civil servants or were unfair to civil servants, and 6) didn’t build stability for the country and the people. We cannot allow our competitive edge to deteriorate or let deception blind us. We want people to be able to stand on their own feet. We can no longer be a society based on financial hand outs, but one based on knowledge. “We cannot give the people fishing rods without teaching them how to fish.” We have to make sure that our people have the knowledge so that they can improve themselves. It is the government’s job to empower the people with reliable information. Information shall not be distorted. Governments cannot seek to divide the people and profit from it. At the same time, the Thai people should follow the Sufficiency Economy philosophy to develop an inner resilience. We must build stability in a way that politicians cannot exploit opportunities. We have been in this situation for a long time. It has to stop. Politicians and the public all know that the problem exists. Don’t pretend that you have forgotten about the problem or what you have done. You cannot keep exercising power in the wrong way. If you do, the poor will never be uplifted and our social conflicts will not be diminished as people will not have a thorough understanding about the problem.
The next matter concerns the divide and rule approach. Leaders must not segregate the people and instill rivalry between them, and violence cannot be used in consequence, as it will only destroy the country. There are those who have used war-grade weapons to disrupt international conferences. These people do not respect the law and have failed to enter the justice system. They use the term ‘democracy’ to pursue their own interests, distort the truth, and accuse others of crimes. 70 million people have to suffer because of these individuals. Therefore the public should not believe what these people have to say. I don’t know how to stop the media from deliberately spreading distorted information. If what you report is true, then it is acceptable, obviously. If it’s a lie, it will be at the expense of the country’s stability.
I would like to find fault with people who have intentionally distorted the truth in this regard. These people will be liable for their actions. If you really look at the facts and the truth, you will understand that the government and the NCPO do not wish to stay in power, as general elections are approaching. Whenever I talk to other world leaders, they ask about elections. Still, there remain ill-intending people spreading the wrong information about the new constitution, democracy, and the retention of power. What am I doing all this for? Who are you doing this for when you accuse me of all this? All you talk about is elections and returning to power but you never talk about how you will reform the country. Today, foreign countries have confidence in Thailand. The only thing that remains is elections. Other countries have seen the importance of this government and the NCPO in maintaining peace and order in Thailand while building long-lasting stability. I assured them of this but who will continue the effort when I’m gone? The next administration needs to make sure our allies have full confidence in us. If we fail to build peace and stability, other countries will not want to make investments or trade with us. This is why we need to be positive about the constitution, the public referendum, general elections, reform, the national strategic plan, the national development plan, and our national security policies. It is in this context that I would like everyone to understand each law that the government has been enforcing for the past two years. Some draft acts are being deliberated. These acts will be vital to the modernization of Thai laws, and to reducing social disparities. The main purpose of the law is to ensure social equality.
The next topic is about the amendment of legislation in relation to Thailand’s credibility in the international arena. Mobilizing the economy and society is pivotal. The lawmakers have just agreed to pass the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, the process of which was done in 5 months since the drafting day, thanks to cooperation from many sides such as judges, attorneys, and responsible authorities. We have also received cooperation from experts and well-respected persons. The new act allows authorities to expedite human trafficking related trials and bring all individuals involved, to justice. This includes authorities who have committed the crime. The act also protects the victims.
It also regulates the temporary release of perpetrators and prevents any possible escape. Perpetrators on temporary release will be required to wear electronic tracking devices and will be asked to remain in certain places. This is to reduce overcrowding of prisoners in detention. We need to find new ways like other countries.
The acts will allow for interrogations to be videotaped and the use of information technology in human trafficking cases such as the testifying process. Testimonies can now be relayed through live televisions in the form of video conferencing. In addition, harsher punishments will be given to those guilty of human trade, illegal detention, providing accommodation for victims aged lower than 15 years. Perpetrators will be charged with child labour violations. Actions that may cause harm or disrupt the development of children will also be treated as human trafficking offenses. Offenders will face harsh penalties under human trafficking law.
At the same time, the government has policies that can provide leniency and compassion towards victims and witnesses to human trafficking cases, for them to be able to temporarily work in Thailand for a year. In the meantime, there needs to be thorough investigations to obtain enough evidence to apprehend criminals. If the process is not complete, a 1 year extension can be given. This is all under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior as well as the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, to provide assistance to victims and witnesses who have come forth, such as employment opportunities. The witness protection program is the responsibility of the Royal Thai Police. This is an example of the cooperation between agencies regarding this matter.
This piece of legislation will be able to eliminate the flaws of past legislations and will serve as an important tool for seriously addressing the country’s human trafficking issue. International organizations have shown much interest in this law and have commended the efforts of this administration, as well as encouraging us to strictly enforce these laws. Therefore I’m giving a fair warning to all. If anyone is found to have committed this crime, they must be punished. This includes Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU). We’ve done our best during the time that we’ve been given and shall continue our efforts. This is why I don’t understand some people who were the ones that neglected these problems for a long time, yet still manage to blame me.
The 7th matter will serve as affirmation to progress achieved by this government in the past 2 years, which can be seen from the assessments from various countries. The opinions of international organizations reflect the confidence in the credibility and stability of Thailand. Most recently, the U.S. News & World Report upgraded Thailand’s ranking from 60 to the 21st best country in the world. The magazine collected data from 16,000 sources based on 9 assessment criteria. Thailand has been ranked in the top 10 in 4 categories, which are: number 4 in the category of uniqueness, number 4 in the category of convenience, friendliness and having destinations that attract foreigners; number 4 in the category of food and cultural diversity; and number 10 in the category of suitability of conducting business, investment and starting up new businesses – which is measured from production capital, the taxation system and degree of corruption.
In addition, there are various agencies both domestic and abroad that have ranked Thailand in top 10 rankings in 2015 such as Bangkok being the world’s 2nd most visited destination in the world after London, while being the 1st in Asia. We are also the top 10 producers of automobiles, textiles and electronics. We’re in the process of modernizing our technology to create more value to these products.
The reason why I’m saying all this is because I want everyone to be proud of their country and to contribute to enhancing the country’s standards. There are still many issues that the international community faces such as the sluggish global economy. If we help each other to preserve what is working, cooperate in development efforts and thereby create sustainability, we can be a positive contributor to the international community and global society.
On March 19-27, we will host the 12th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference (APOC) at IMPACT Arena Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi which will consist of:
1. An experts meeting on orchids and a comprehensive orchid exhibition -from growing, distribution and usage of orchids.
2. A demonstration on the use of technology for growing, improvement, genetic preservation and the usage of orchids, from experts from 13 countries.
3. A contest on orchid gardening, orchid photography and orchid art. The exhibition will be open from 10:00am to 8:00pm everyday.
This support for the holding of international meetings, exhibitions and showcases of international products serves as one of the government’s apparatus in boosting the economy as well as supporting tourism. The sales of orchids will draw in money, trade and investments from foreign countries.
8. What the government and the NCPO also want to see before having an elected government is a plan for the 2016-17 fiscal years, for various sectors such as education, research, and human personnel development.
It is also important to reform the civil service to enhance efficiency, create credibility, eliminate special treatment, and restructure organization to create better cooperation between the various agencies.
Waste management is also a very important matter. What we can do to start off is to separate garbage at homes and in communities, which will then add value to the purchasing of waste. What can’t be recycled can be put into furnaces. We need to begin as soon as possible; otherwise garbage will continue to accumulate each year by thousands of tons. Garbage separation will reduce the risk of diseases and other various risks. For example, waste from hospitals and chemicals are being put into one landfill. There needs to be ways of dealing with different kinds of waste. Today, the military has stepped in to separate waste in several communities. Civil servants must also be responsible for this task as well. Local communities and various districts must find proper waste management tools, such as furnaces, while provinces need to look into waste treatment plans or waste-to-energy plants.
The next matter is about the budget. I’ve said many times that we need to restructure our budget system in March of 2016. If any budget proposals fail to keep to their proposed plans, I will return the funds immediately. Any issues that arise must first be reported and I will decide if I will reduce the budget or reallocate to other sectors first according to needs. In the future if it passes the EIA, then you can move forward with your plan. Right now, everything is on hold because everyone wants to do things all at the same time. Today, I’ve called for an amendment to the budget act which will go into effect from the year 2017 onwards to create cost-effectiveness and efficiency. There needs to be prioritization of agendas. We need to fix this issue if we want the country to progress into a position of strength. We need to examine the taxation, incomes, and the import and export sectors. There are lots of associated taxes which need to be revised while having the least effects on the general public. Strengthening the country with proper finances must also coincide with effective management by the government, whether it is this government or the next elected government.
We need to quickly instill a system of good governance. This year, I’ve stressed this with all sectors of society, from small children, adolescents, the public, the private sector and the bureaucracy. All agencies must have good governance.
Regarding corruption elimination and instilling a mentality of graft prevention and elimination, this must start at a young age while being supported by an equitable justice system. Children should have the right to warn their parents against doing things that that will cause trouble for the entire family.
Regarding the restructuring of the country’s economic structure, this must be done soonest; otherwise we will be at a trade deficit. We must create continuity in our efforts so that it is not wasted. It is not an easy task to accomplish.
Regarding economic restructuring to create more income for the agricultural sector, the factors of production are all connected. For instance farmers must grow crops, do processing, apply innovation, and then attempt market penetration. The first channel is trading amongst each other, followed by various unions and cooperatives. This leads to a social business model which will strengthen the agricultural sector. The second channel is trading with middle men which will increase the price of products. The third channel is through large businesses. We must find a way to connect all 3 channels. We need to create stability across all 4 regions which extend to various communities, provincial groups and the region. Strengthening the agricultural sector requires connectivity among all channels.
Overhauling the entire water management system will be done in order to prepare for future crisis. Today we need to create more understanding regarding national water management. This system must remain flexible according to conditions that arise.
The last matter is electricity. We might need to use certain natural resources for our supply. What’s important is how we can create balance. We must ask how we can best utilize resources. The public must contribute to fixing this problem. We need to rely on expertise and various technologies. If we can gain a lot while forfeiting a little, that is fine. If we are giving up too much, we need to reexamine how we can solve this problem, whether it is energy from gas, oil or coal. Today, we must try to meet our goal of 70% according to the PDP plan, which aspires to create energy from organic matter. Right now, natural gas, oil and coal is cheap but how can we make sure that we are not destroying the environment? Can we implement certain technologies? Some countries are forfeiting the use of coal. Let’s see what they are using instead. They are using nuclear power plants. I ask that you first study the benefits of these technologies before criticizing the government. If we can preserve the environment while strengthening the country by creating stability in the energy sector, we will all benefit and save money.
Between the hottest months of March and May each year according to statistics, a lot of energy is consumed. I ask for cooperation from the public to reconsider their electricity consumption habits between March 20 and May 30, especially around 2-3pm. Please contribute by turning off lights that are not necessary, adjust your air conditioning temperature to 26 degrees Celsius. If you say this temperature is too hot, try being outside. When sleeping, try not to turn the temperature down too much. This will cause the air conditioner to quickly lose its cooling capabilities. Turning the temperature way down while piling up thick blankets is not a reasonable thing to do. Please adjust the temperature moderately. Also, you can save energy by disconnecting power cables that aren’t in use. Turn off the automatic water boiling machines. The government is not able to invest in unlimited amounts of energy at the moment. People want cheap prices, so they must contribute as well. If you’re not watching television or listening to the radio, don’t turn them on. Some people turn them on in the background to keep them company. I urge all to switch to using “number 5” efficiency graded electronics which is a sign of energy efficiency, switch to using LED lights which can save up to 80% of energy. Today, the project at the market next to the government house features exchanges of old stoves for new ones. These new stoves are more powerful yet more efficient. Many people have come to exchange their stoves. The old stoves are then dismantled. I would like to thank everyone at the market for their contributions. This is the government’s market, not my market. If we can do this, we can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases and carbon dioxide and will be able to keep our promise of reducing emissions by at least 25-30% in the next 20 years.
Recently, the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) has approved an energy mobilization plan which supports the use of electronic vehicles in Thailand. This will consist of making Thailand an electric train manufacturing hub for the region. I’ve called for the use of electric trains before expanding support to cover personal vehicles in the future. Today, we have eco-cars, trucks that are powered by palm oil with B7, B10, B15 and B20 technologies. Today, we’ve only been able to utilize B7 and B10. We must reach B15 and B20. We will be able to derive up to 15-20 percent of the fuel composition from palm oil, up from the original 7-10 percent. This will assist palm oil farmers. There are lots of countries that are interested in investing and we will provide comprehensive support. We have readied our support by developing infrastructure, railroads, electricity charging stations, taxes, laws and regulations, public train fares, fares for charging stations, managing energy needs according to electric vehicles, creating incentives, and reducing obstacles to conducting business.
There have also been talks with the senior management of Japanese automobile manufacturing companies that have invested heavily in Thailand. I’ve affirmed the government’s policy of further developing the automobile industry, especially eco-cars and hybrid cars, which will serve as prototypes of developing other electric cars, including hydrogen-powered vehicles. The market next to the government has been testing small vehicles that utilize gas to propel the vehicles, some of which are for use in water. These are merely experiments. In the future, we may be a producer of hydrogen-powered vehicles. We need to use technology and research more. If we are serious of reducing emissions, we must support vehicles that use ethanol and biodiesel to increase demand for palm and cane oil. Innovations must be supported with adequate infrastructure. In the past, NGV technology was introduced but there weren’t enough NGV stations.
I had visited Phadung Krung Kasem Market which features an exhibition under the theme of “research in energy for retail”. I wanted the Ministry of Energy to host the exhibition in order to bring innovations to the market and let the public know that there are lots of innovations in the pipeline. For example, there is a light pole that is powered by human heat. The light illuminates just through human contact. This can be used to replace flashlights, is not wasteful, and is not a burden on anyone because humans will always have heat. I encourage the public to support innovations like this and also energy-efficient products and measures according to the government’s policy.
Also, there is the campaign of turning off one light for one hour. I think this campaign is doable. There are also advances in alternative energy (solar) to propel machines and charge batteries. These things have not been brought to market yet. However they must also meet designated standards according to the Thai Industrial Standards Institute. I am in support of these innovations because they will definitely be beneficial.
Regarding our efforts in re-organizing public spaces, this consists of vendors setting up in proper locations, proper parking designations, stopping of buses and vans, and forest encroachments among other things. What I’m doing is enforcing laws that have usually been ignored. This must be done while officials need to create understanding, especially since a lot of this may involve dismantling encroached sites. Some people have contempt for me for doing this and claim that I am bullying the poor. I am merely restoring order. People need to understand each other. Sometimes vendors that set up need to also be generous to the community. However, the municipalities must not bully the public. I saw this on the television and it angered me how they treated the public. I’ve called for an investigation and if they are indeed guilty, there will be punishments. We have been restoring order for the past two years. As for various high-profile cases, it is the responsibility of the courts and the justice system. The government will not interfere in these legal matters; otherwise there will be no credibility. We must be able to coexist with each other based on trust, reducing suspicions, and working for the benefit of the public. This is something that all governments need to implement. Today, this is all I’m going to talk about. I’m speaking fast today because I don’t want to interfere with your television time.
Don’t forget to go watch the show that I suggested. It’s called Descendants of the Sun. I’m not suggesting this show because the actors are handsome and beautiful. I watch this show to see how they have been able to think up the plot line. It’s a blend of modern storytelling with popular actors. They’ve been able to portray romance in a tasteful way, unlike the scandalous stories that we have. They tell a love story within the boundaries of their culture while also weaving into the plot ethics. The man is a captain while the woman is a doctor. Both do their own duties. Despite them being in love with one another, they don’t infringe on other people’s jobs. I suggest that you go watch this television series and see how the writers are able to think this way. This is unlike the plot lines that we usually have, that are just about family fights, squabbles over money or inheritance or wills. I know that these are fiction but fiction must also fit in the context of erudition. Is this what you want Thai society to have? People fight all day all night and don’t do anything else. I think the show that I’ve suggested is on True Visions channel 32 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I’m merely suggesting this so that you can see how a series can be made tastefully without having to feature sensationalism or violence just to make it a spectacle to watch.
The printed press must also reexamine this issue as well. Sometimes you feature provocative cover photos in the weekend editions. There is the matter of public decency to consider here. What’s more, the media have the opportunity to contribute to how Thai people can preserve Thai culture and the Thai way of living. Whatever we have that is brilliant should be preserved. We are part of international society so we must maintain our heritage. Other countries also preserve their culture and heritage. On the other hand, we are too occupied with bickering. If Thai society doesn’t solve this, it can hold us back. We must uphold sound values and judgment through our own will and not let others manipulate or look down on us. Thank you very much. My words may have been fervent today but I speak them with good intentions and my sincerity.
Thank you. Sawasdee Krub