National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, April 1, 2016
Good evening, dear Thai citizens.
As April 2nd of every year marks the auspicious occasion of the Birthday Anniversary of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who will turn 61 this year, the Royal Thai Government would like to invite all Thai citizens to convey their felicitations to Her Royal Highness. As well, we would like to encouraged all Thai’s to celebrate this auspicious occasion by performing virtuous deeds in honour and as a tribute to Her Royal Highness, particularly through the ‘Panitarn Kwamdee P Mahamongko” project. As I have mentioned before, the Thai people coming together to do a special virtuous deed for society will also be essential in conveying our gratitude and devotion to Their Majesties, particularly to mark the auspicious occasions, this year, of the 70th Anniversary Celebration of His Majesty’s Accession to the Throne, along with the 84th Birthday Anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen in August, as well as for His Majesty the King’s 90th Birthday Anniversary next year.
April 1st of every year marks Civil Servants Day. It is the day of pride for every civil servant in Thailand. Regardless of their duties or rank, all civil servants play an important role in helping the people cope with their problems, in looking after their well-being, and in providing security for the properties and lives of every citizen. This is an everyday task required by the civil service and every official performs their duties in service to His Majesty the King for the people of Thailand. Therefore, the term “civil servant” in Thailand is sacrosanct in terms of authority, roles, and responsibilities and civil servants must have an obligation to the highest ethics and to the principles of good governance, comprising of morality, legitimacy, transparency, inclusiveness, responsibility, and worthiness. The current government, thus, has used these principles to advocate the “Pracharat” model, which is based on inclusiveness from all sectors of society and the application of these principles to our political, economic, social, and environmental considerations. With this approach, public administration can proceed without hindrances.
To mark this occasion, I would like to ask all civil servants to apply His Majesty’s “understand, reach out, and develop” strategy and the 23 principles of work by His Majesty in the performance of all their duties, and also convey my encouragement and support to maintain noble intentions in carrying out their duties, with knowledge and wisdom, so that we can build a resilient Thai society based on stability, prosperity, and sustainability.
On behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of the Kingdom of Thailand, I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the people of Pakistan for the terrorist attack in Lahore that resulted in many casualties, mostly women and children, who were enjoying a religious ceremony. I condemn this act of violence. Thailand stands ready to work with all countries in fight against terrorism and use of violence against innocent people. Although Thailand is not a target, I would like all security agencies, government offices, the private sector, private security firms, and those responsible for tourist sites accentuate all security measures, especially as Songkran Festival approaches. Members of the public should also contribute to a safer and secure society, and pay more attention to what goes on around them. Please report any suspicious acts to officers immediately should you come across them.
Corruption is like a plague that has long been sabotaging our economy and society. In the past 3 years, or between 2013 and 2015, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), has cited 193 cases of corruption or unusual wealth which involved more than 500,000 million baht, in spite of a recent survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce stating that the corruption situation in 2015 was the most improved for the country the last 6 years.
According to the 2016 Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International, Thailand moved up 9 places and is third best in ASEAN, with Singapore and Malaysia ahead of us. In addition, Thailand is ranked 76 out of 168 countries around the world. Nevertheless, the government has not been satisfied with this as we have declared combating corruption to be a national agenda, thus confirming our commitment to addressing this menace through our sustained efforts to strictly enforce laws, justly and without double-standards, and by means of our reform initiatives and various measures such as:
1) The establishment of the national anti-corruption committee.
2) The establishment of a committee responsible for monitoring the spending of government funds.
3) Investigations on government authorities allegedly involved in corruption acts.
4) The issuance of the Thai Licensing Facilitation Act, B.E. 2558.
5) The publication of information on G-News or through other electronic systems.
6) The opening of One-Stop Service centers such as the Damrongtham Center and the public complaints center. These centers allow the public to lodge complaints and have more access to government services and officials.
7) The signing of the “Integrity Pact” (IP) in contracts which seeks to establish transparency and prevent bribery. We have also adopted the “CoST” system so that the public can have access to information and investigations into the procurement of government projects. It also closes doors for influential people or imposters to seek personal gains. All information about government procurement contracts will be publicized, allowing the public to be more confidence about how their money is being spent.
With that said, another sustainable solution to corruption is to create awareness and a social conscience about all forms of corruption. We must not neglect this problem. Everyone should speak up and be wary about corruption. The government hopes that the “Transparent School” campaign will raise youngsters’ awareness and their social conscience against corruption through 4 short films including,
1) “Khon Kong Rao Tong Chae, Ruang Kong Rao Tong Chae”
2) “Khon Yang Nee Kho Mee Duay”
3) “Trip Hong Krong”
4) “Kham Tid Charuad”
These short films are expected to emphasize honesty and integrity among our youth. The moral conscience these youngsters have will be the foundation of Thailand’s resilience and sustainability. As well, the proving of innocence or guilt will be based on evidence and will be conducted fairly and impartially, not by word-of-mouth or rumors in social media. Please understand that an effective public administrative system must be based on the rule of law, for fairness and legitimacy.
In terms of building resilience for the country’s economy through the “Pracharat” approach, the government is promoting connectivity by establishing supply chains both inside and outside the country. The effort requires participation from all sides. Everything regardless of their size should be interconnected. Thailand must connect with the ASEAN Community and the international community.
In terms of mobilizing the grassroots economy, this must have its foundations in an internal willingness to make progress. I’ve said this many times. This must start with the people, farmers, farmer groups, cooperatives, among others. For example, the government is trying to build social enterprises for local communities. The aim of these businesses is not just to make a profit but to also produce products and services for the public with members of the community as their center while also addressing people’s problems as well as environmental issues. For this, the government will allocate 5 million baht to each Tambon and 1 million baht to each village.
Although the government cannot provide much, communities must be able to build resilience using this fund. Please use it efficiently and wisely. The money can be used to build stores, rice mills, cassava drying field, gas stations, while other facilities can be constructed. These facilities will be owned and managed by the community itself. This helps to generate income for the locals and allows famers to expand their farming activities, turning their crops into value-added products.
The government has a keen interest in developing social enterprises in accordance with His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. With several incentives, the government has a plan to turn these businesses into community social enterprises. These enterprises will be granted corporate tax exemption and other privileges. Sponsors of social enterprises will also get the same benefits. In the future, social enterprises in the same area should form a network in order to create stronger communities, along with the exchange of knowledge and resources. The government will support these enterprises through the “Pracharat” approach, turning them into business centers. I would like to invite the private sector to join this project by making investments and donations. Participants will receive tax benefits. As of now, the Ministry of Interior is consulting with local businesses for a possible launch of the campaign in Phuket.
We also need to mobilize economic and social development through our relations and connectivity with other countries, given that we are in the same supply chain such as the ASEAN Community and the CLMV region. This is expected to strengthen our region as we reach out to other regions, like the G77 group of which Thailand is the current chair. With this group, we will be able to exchange knowledge on sustainable development through the adoption of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. We will grow strong together without leaving anybody behind. In addition, the Mekong-Lancang Leaders Meeting will help to strengthen our region in terms of water resources under the “Shared River, Shared Future” vision.
Moreover, we will strengthen our country in five aspects including the industrial sector, border trade, water resource management, agriculture, and social affairs, with the main goal to reduce poverty. Our effort includes Thailand’s participation in other development frameworks that seek to build strong cooperation under the concept “reducing wariness, reducing inequalities, and share benefits”. Everything is built on trust and confidence. We need to share growth with other nations and we will not leave anyone behind.
Creating connectivity in the supply chain, inside and outside the country, will add to sustainable social and economic development. Everyone’s participation is required in this process, starting from the upstream level, which includes producers and farmers who provide raw materials. These materials will then be turned into value products (midstream). Then there is the downstream level, where these products are sold in potential markets. All participants in the three streams must, therefore, work together. This is what we call a “value chain”, which should be taken into account when dealing with our foreign trading and commercial partners.
At international meetings, leaders normally have little time to deliver their remarks. I also have very little time to give speeches because many other nations take part in the same event. Normally at international events, we are given 3-10 minutes to make our remarks. This is why good preparation is necessary. I normally have a draft of what I have to say before the actual presentation and will make additional comments as I go on. Most of the time, I talk about principles, cooperation and visions, all of which every leader should mention. We are required to focus on these topics first. With some spare time, leaders then engage in discussions about bilateral cooperation and other matters. This kind of discussion is normally held during dinner or a reception. We have had several opportunities to talk with other leaders already. Our foreign relations are much closer now. This approach has proven quite successful as other leaders and I are now more acquainted and have confidence in each other.
The matter of “viewpoint discussions” is about the rule of law. Citizens have a duty to know the laws and they are written in the constitution. Despite this fact, many people knowingly break the law, while trying to instigate conflicts and distort the truth. They deliberately spread false information about the government and the NCPO, then they justify this by using the terms ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’. As I have said this many times, they are two different things. If you break a law, you cannot justify impunity by simply saying that your rights are being violated. There is no common sense in that. I have talked about this with many countries, most recently with US representatives. I informed the visiting side about our process in conducting these discussions. What we have done is not what others have accused us of or what lobbyists abroad have claimed. People in Thailand know this and other people know what Thailand is going through.
We have embarked on this process of national reform for the people, and for the future of our country, which in the end will also benefit our foreign friends. We do this so that we can continue to have constructive relations in all dimensions with other nations as well. Without this sort of effort, there will not be trust or confidence in Thailand. Today, Thailand has stability and peacefulness. As for the matter of human rights, we can confidently explain this to the international community that we have never harmed anyone. If offenders have broken the law, our officials have acted accordingly. But if such actions were only based on a misunderstanding then we have only asked them to come in for a talk. Despite this, a number of people have been called in many times based on repeat offences, so it is rather clear that they have deliberately taken this course. This is why it is necessary to talk to these people.
Only a handful of people are bothered by what we do. The rest of the people in the country, which is about 70 million people, carry on with their lives. I would like the public to understand this situation based on reason. The NCPO will only do what is necessary. We enforce laws only for peacefulness and orderliness, while other laws are enforced normally by the concerned government agency. Yet many people have broken the special peace and order laws as well as ordinary laws. Let me ask you then, how should we deal them these repeat offenders?
Imagine if these repeat offenders entered politics and how damaging for the country this would be. I would like ever citizen to look towards the new constitution which is being publicized now, and then to focus on the public referendum. My job is nearly complete. It is now for you to decide at polling stations. It is not up to me to decide whether the charter will be endorsed by the public. This is all about you. My responsibility is to make sure that the country has peacefulness and orderliness.
I do not wish for this issue to distress the Thai people. People will need to make their own decisions about the charter, so make sure you show up at polling stations. For the past two years, we have given a number of opportunities to people with different points of view to make positive changes in the charter. However, they refused to do so and keep on breaking the law, fleeing the country, and creating misunderstanding. Let me ask the public this. What would happen if these people were to be elected at the next general election? People might have to ask these people what they will do for the country. I have lived up to my promises, but these people never did. Ask them how they will be accountable for the damage they have done. How will they take the responsibility?
I have other things to focus on, rather than pay my attention or get upset over political affairs. There are more important concerns such as our management of water, natural resources, and the environment. This is the most pivotal issue at the moment as a lot of people do not understand the government’s measures to manage water. The reason we will encounter water scarcity is because we lack factors contributing to the production of water. Without these factors, rainfall will be scarce. The rainy season is shorter than usual. We don’t have enough water retention areas. We also lack an effective flood prevention system, and we do not have an effective water distribution system. Areas that need water are scattered.
Today, everything is being adjusted and improved by the water management committee. I will explain to you what we need to do prior to the next monsoon season. I can assure you that the results will be better than the previous years, despite limitations we face. We will create a system, build reservoirs, and encourage the right farming. We will make sure the demand for water by all sectors is compatible with what we can provide. We will conduct a survey on water demand, so that we have accurate information. We cannot only provide to the agricultural sector, but other sectors shall get their portion. Every sector contributes to the growth of the country. We need all sectors to be able to mobilize in order for the people to generate income, in a bid to create an effective value chain which will eventually lead to sustainable development for the nation.
I have met with many world leaders, all of whom are our friends. We discussed several matters, especially about water. One thing I want to share with you is that it is pivotal to make every citizen understand the importance of water. Every drop of water is worthwhile. Do not waste it. Some people throw out water without thinking. Please use it more efficiently, even when you shower or use it for agricultural purposes. Please stop wasting water, or else, we will not have fresh water in the future. The government will initiate a project, with an aim to recycle and reuse water. The project shall be launched this year. The objective is to recycle 20-30 percent of water in all activities. The industrial sector has been trying to achieve this goal. Factories are treating water so that the water can be used for other purposes. This is expected to help alleviate the long dry season. Reused water must be purified first.
I’d like our agencies to learn from examples from other countries, especially countries that lack sources of water or are of desert climates. I think it will be beneficial. I like the books that they write and the pictures that they portray. All Ministries should consider what should be emulated. We need to learn from the lessons of other countries and also exchange opinions and expertise in a creative way.
Today there is welcoming news as we have dispatched our team of artificial rainmakers to give advice to our friends from Jordan. This has been a cooperative effort between His Majesty the King and HM the King of Jordan since 2009. It has taken a while to get off the ground, but now this cooperation has finally reached fruition. I have mentioned this endeavour to everyone, as it is a way to highlight one of His Majesty’s accomplishments. In doing so I have also highlighted how His Majesty’s model has been able to create artificial rain when there is a certain level of humidity in the atmosphere. His Majesty the King has always urged rainmakers to conduct operations when conditions are suitable.
In the light of this, we also need to reflect on what else we can do to preserve our natural resources. This means preserving forests, mountains, creating natural dams, implementing recycling methods. Look at one of our ASEAN countries. They’ve been doing this for the past 50 years and yesterday they told me that they are able to successfully reprocess water to be drinkable again in some areas.
Looking at Thailand, we need to plan more for the future instead of solving problems on a year by year basis. If we keep thinking like this, will we have enough water in the next 50 years? Therefore, the government is planning for the future to create long term stability. I’ve tasked the Ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Interior, Industry and Science to look into various innovations pertaining to this. Look at countries such as Singapore and Israel and see how they do it. We need to prepare ourselves today. I see lots of former politicians and governments making study visits but nothing has been implemented. I don’t know why they went then, if they were not t going to do anything in the first place.
The fair at Phadung Krungkasem Canal Market under the theme of “innovations in energy for retail” this past month has received much attention from the public. The fair featured many interesting researches on energy. If you are interested, go see it for yourselves how these innovations are practical and can be used in our households, such as wireless light bulbs that are powered by human heat. They are able to sell these at 200 Baht per bulb.
Another is utilizing power from ventilators. This is a simple contraption using factory aluminum to become a ventilator that also serves as a power generator. These things cost a little bit over ten thousand Baht and can be installed anywhere that doesn’t require electrical wiring. In the future, we must accelerate our efforts in preparing electric trains as well.
I’ve tasked the Ministry of Science to look into power from hydrogen which will draw energy from water and convert them into batteries. Even student science projects are able to propel motors using water. We need to be serious about this. Students have been able to do this in their science projects for the past 5 years but we have never scaled this into something significant yet. Let’s actually develop innovation into practical things. Science textbooks say hydrogen can be used to power motors. But how can we make use of it with vehicles that are hydrogen powered? None of this will be possible if it’s just left in the books as ideas. Therefore I want the Ministry of Education to work with the Ministry of Science on converting ideas into action.
Circulation of investment money in the fair has amounted to over 24 million Baht during March.
In April, the Ministry of Education will host a fair at the Phadung Krungkasem Canal Market under the concept of ‘education as the driving force of the country’. The fair will be divided into 3 parts. The first part, from April 1-11, will feature products made by students and the public at affordable prices. I’ve looked at these products and suggested that they perhaps be modified to create variety. I’ve seen some products being made for a few years already. Some of these products will be specific for the Songkran Festival and some for the new year.
Why don’t we think like this on a regular basis? In addition, what you produce in these two periods are products that will be sold to tourists and could be made smaller and with other materials. You can change the design accordingly. I’ve looked at ideas from other countries which can spark innovation here. Think of what could be liked by other cultures. Think, for example, of the popular designs for women’s bags, or apparel. We then infuse our own uniqueness into it.
For example, the shirt that I’m wearing now probably won’t be that popular abroad because it’s not a popular design. So why don’t we use this same fabric and modernize it and create a unique brand? We can use our material and match them with some international forms. There are plenty of designs that can be incorporated and adapted while using our own material, which will then be able to show case our own local heritage. Items that are cultural can then be sold year-round, so that you won’t be unemployed during off-season periods.
Please support each other in this way. But no one is going to force you on how you make a living. People must make their own decisions. For instance, if you don’t care about yourself and choose to drink while driving, no law can prevent you from dying. All I can do is ensure that safety measures are in place.
The Songkran-themed fair will be held on April 12-15 and will include Buddhist ceremonies and events for expressing gratitude and piety to our elders. There will be traditional dancing at the Phadung Krungkasem Canal Market and contests.
The last period of the fair on April 16-24 will be a “back to school” theme where the market will sell student uniforms and school supplies at affordable prices. In addition, there will be booths selling products from Royal Projects and local products at affordable prices. We have infused innovation in OTOP products and have progressed in the second phase of elevating the standards of these products. The third phase will ensure that the products are of high enough standards to be exported abroad.
Lots of things have improved today. These products are now sold on airplanes. I’d like people to come to the market to get to see the products for themselves. There are also lots of services by people at the market such as massages, hairdressing and other activities such as musical performances and cultural performances by students. However, I’d like parents and guardians to be mindful of how our children spend their time. Don’t just think about profit and making money. Remember that regardless of age or gender, there are laws that punish those who violate labour laws. I also don’t understand why retailers need to emphasise highly provocative advertising or risqué messages when trying to sell certain products. Please dress politely, decently, and appropriately, especially around children.
At the market, there will also be demonstrations of scientific works by students. Please support them and buy what you can afford. If it’s too much for you, don’t worry about it. Just spend according to your means. We need to learn to adjust our budgets according to our real financial conditions. Which other government has really conveyed the Sufficiency Economy philosophy as much as this government?
As for the upcoming semester, I’d like the products here to benefit students and parents. Don’t just think about selling products at first hand. Think about expanding into new markets and revitalizing product design, using good materials and bringing out a story behind the product. There needs to be constant improvement of standards. For example, when looking at a bag, you need to examine it in its entirety which includes its handle and zippers. Look at how other countries are doing things. Making quality products doesn’t have to require that much costs. If you add value to the products, the prices will go higher when you export them. You can also mix and match new and old practices. You can make bags that incorporate designs or material from specific regions. This will create value because it will be a unique product in its design and story.
As for the hot season, I’d like the authorities of all ministries including civilians, police, military and volunteers in various areas to be on the lookout for forest fires, smog and fires in buildings and communities. I see this happen every year. The government has stressed that it is also up to the public to adhere to safety measures as well. This also includes disease prevention and personal health. Please take care of yourselves during this time and pay close attention to children and the elderly.
Whether it is billboards, abandoned buildings or structures, if they are not used, please tear them down. I’d like the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Municipalities to help survey and take down unused structures that can pose as a hazard for locals. As well, all of this is quite an eyesore when people pass by. Think about foreigners that are visiting our country. We should be ashamed of this. Please help each other on this matter. I thank people who are already doing all of this.
Please dispose of waste appropriately. I’ve touched upon the importance to separate waste. Some blame the authorities for not picking up waste. Maybe it’s because you haven’t separated it yet. Waste collection fees aren’t that high and you still complain that it’s too expensive. Try thinking of the people who work as waste disposal personnel. Please separate waste appropriately so that you make their jobs easier. We need to all help each other.
Tropical storms are also increasing. It is summer right now and it will be the rainy season next. Please be careful. Inspect your homes for stability. Don’t just let things be as they are. Many people like to be carefree and then suffer later when there is a crisis. Please be aware of flash floods, mud slides and risk points. Those who know of risky areas, please inform others, especially the children.
I hear about children drowning every week. Why isn’t there any warning signs or barricades? You claim you can’t care for them because you’re busy working, but children are then left unattended and can get into danger. Perhaps you can at least put signs up of how deep the water is. If you don’t, who else will do it? Sometimes, it is canals that farmers dig themselves that children go drown in. The children don’t know how deep these wells or lakes are. Please put up warning signs. Also give them guidance in the house. If I don’t say this, who else will? I’m saying all this for the sake of your health and safety.
We need to be more proactive in protecting ourselves from risk. We need to prepare for the rainy season, especially in the area of floods and water management. We cannot afford to use water carelessly. I am even careful when drinking water.
Fisherman need to be careful as well. Please follow the updates from the Meteorological Department, especially local and small fishing boats. Please listen to safety guidelines, even though it is important that you make a living by going out to sea. Safety must come first. You can ask officials of what to do when you’re unable to go out and fish. Can the governors help? Various local administrations need to help the communities. That’s what local administrations were established for. Everyone needs to help each other as a community.
The same also goes for tourist boats. Please don’t be careless. Don’t overload or travel while there’s heavy wind. Please wait until the waves settle. As for travelling during the night, small boats should refrain from doing so unless absolutely necessary. Please use caution and good judgement and don’t put other people’s lives in danger.
I am always prepared to do my utmost for you, but you must also help me as well. I will do my best regarding things that I am capable of doing and now I am providing you with some guidance given this opportunity.
From now on, should passenger ships and tour buses get into accidents because of carelessness and result in the deaths of passengers; I will use the law to administer just punishment to those responsible. You can be reckless to yourself if you want, but don’t put other people’s lives in danger. I want to ensure that every one is safe. However, everyone needs to be responsible as well. People need to care for the safety of others as well.
Life jackets must be available. Boats, trains, electric trains need to have adequate safety procedures. When something happens, people will panic. If officials don’t give proper instructions, how will people stay calm and safe? If you can’t open windows, what needs to be done? Include directions during emergencies. If you don’t include safety directions, I think that this is irresponsible. We need to be proactively thinking about the safety of the public. If you don’t take safety precautions then you shouldn’t be operating a service that involves public transport.
Regarding various laws, please follow them. We should not have to come up with new laws. I think there are enough laws right now so I implore all to follow the existing laws, then about 90 % of the problems can be fixed. A lot of people have been complacent, however, and there many pending cases.
Don’t worry about pending cases that have caused public distress. There will be a review of all these cases, whether they are old or new. I have instructed the police, the security agencies, and the Ministry of Justice to follow up on them. A lot of these cases have started before my administration. I’m just seeing that they are concluded while I’m still in here.
Thank you. I wish everyone happiness and safety during the weekend. Please drive safely and don’t drink and drive or over speed. I’m saddened every day at the sight of people dying in road accidents. Please think about how you can be safe and how your passengers can be safe. I’m serious about this issue because I sympathize with the families of the deceased.
Thank you. Sawasdee Krub