National Broadcast by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, May 6, 2016
MC: Khemasorn Nukao
Good evening, welcome to the program. You’re with me Khemasorn Nukao, your host for today. Every week, the Prime Minister and Head of the NCPO Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha talks to us about the many issues going on in the country. This past week had a very important event for Thais and the Kingdom of Thailand. It was Coronation Day on May 5th. This evening, I will talk to the Prime Minister about all of these issues.
Sawasdee Kha, Prime Minister.
Sawasdee Krub, good evening.
First, about the very important day I just mentioned- Coronation Day is one of the most auspicious occasions of the year, in which the Thai people have the opportunity to convey their highest felicitations to His Majesty. Could you please talk about the importance of this event?
As we all know, this day is very important and it has been celebrated since 1950. The auspicious occasion is in commemoration of His Majesty the King’s Coronation. At the Coronation, His Majesty proclaimed in His Oath of Coronation that “we shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people” and ever since, the Thai people have lived in happiness and peace under His benevolence.
Most importantly, this year also marks the 70th anniversary of His Majesty’s accession to the throne. The Royal Thai Government would like to invite all Thai people to perform a virtuous deed in honour of this auspicious occasion and as a tribute to His Majesty’s graciousness, in particular by contributing to society in harmony with each other and by upholding the highest ethics.
I would also like to encourage us to adopt His Majesty’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in our daily lives, by taking the middle path and His Majesty’s approach as our inspiration and example, which is also renowned worldwide as His Majesty is lauded as the Development King.
Prime Minister, could you also please talk about the recent positive developments in Thailand? People across the nation have adopted His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. The Theptarin Hospital is another very good example of an organization that has successfully adopted the concept to its daily operations. Could you please elaborate?
First, I would like to inform you that His Majesty’s Philosophy can be applied to all situations, depending on different tasks at hand. The Theptarin Hospital is a good example. Prof Dr Thep Himathongkam, the founder of Theptarin Hospital which specializes in diabetes and thyroid, introduced to the concept to the hospital.
Their approach is based on the 3 principles of moderation, resilience, and sound reasoning. And based on the principles of knowledge and morality, the hospital has been embracing His Majesty the King’s teachings for the past 30 years, thus creating resilience for the people it serves.
The hospital is a progressive organization in terms of personnel and the management system. The hospital is also able to pass on its institutional knowledge to public health personnel working across the country, not only its staff. It is a private hospital that works closely with the National Health Security Office (NHSO) in providing training to state authorities.
For example, it teaches public health personnel how to treat diabetic foot ulcers. A large number of Thais are suffering from diabetes, 80 percent of the patients have to have their feet cut off. It is a dangerous disease. We must find effective prevention measures. It also helps to save the government’s expenses for the country’s healthcare system.
I believe the hospital has taken on His Majesty’s Philosophy by focusing on benefits sharing, promoting a social conscience, and working on sustainability of the organization. In this case, the lesson is that you will not thrive if you only seek to make profits. But with social responsibility, the public will also support you. Your business will be running and flourishing as a result.
Another lesson that the hospital has taught us is that profit is not always the main goal. This sort of thinking should be adopted in all operations, especially during this pivotal moment as the country is going through reforms. Private companies should foster pride among their employees, encouraging them to contribute instead of always thinking about their monthly incomes or bonuses. They must put the public and country’s interests at heart as well. We must help create resilience for our nation. We must find a way for the nation to thrive, for businesses to flourish. This is why companies should foster the sense of being a stakeholder or ownership among their employees. Employees should have the mindset that they are the owners of the company and have the responsibility to steer it forward. They need to talk to each other and work together to ensure the company’s sustainable growth. If everyone refuses to cooperate or put their own interests first, the company will not be successful. I would like everyone to be in a positive work environment. If everyone can make some sacrifices, there will be stability and security for all in the future. Your income will then be increased. GDP alone cannot determine the country’s growth. We must take into consideration people’s satisfaction and well-being. True happiness cannot be purchased. It comes from one’s heart. You cannot buy happiness with money.
Our own determination will be key to the organization’s success and sustainability. Let’s take a look at some urgent problems in Thailand. Some problems need time to fix however. Let’s talk about some problems that can be addressed now first. This problem concerns the Din Daeng flats. The government is attempting to improve the standards of living of people in that community. The landscape will be renovated and waste will be better managed. Prime Minister, can you kindly update us on the progress and how members of Din Daeng community have been cooperating with the government?
There were many issues in the beginning. Some residents agreed to change but some didn’t. The government had to be patient. We told them that we wanted to uplift their well-being. The most important thing to achieve was meeting the everyday basic needs. They need durable and modern homes. We can no longer live in the same way as before. I would like to thank Din Daeng community members, 87 percent of whom have agreed with the government’s assistance. We have receive some great support from them. Only a handful of people still disagree. Our efforts concern landscape renovation and improving the well-being of Din Daeng people. Their homes are very old and could collapse anytime. These houses are more than 10 years old. This is an example of the government’s assistance to help low-income earners in the metropolis. The same project will be initiated in many other areas.
The Din Daeng community houses 20,292 families. The project is divided into two phases. The first phase includes 11 buildings, with 6,546 units. The second phase whose residents are low-income earners and civil servants, houses 25 buildings, with 13,746 units. Around 30,000 people will benefit from this project.
The project will be implemented in a span of 8 years, from 2016 to 2024. The project aims to renovate the landscape. The rents which are now between 300 – 3,950 baht per month will be raised to 1,265 – 4,305 baht per month. The rent includes utility fees and public services. This will help to prevent future problems. Everything must be improved in this community. The construction will commence this August and will take around 18 months.
What about waste management which is a very common problem waiting to be fixed?
Although it is a common problem, people still rely on the government. The problem can be resolved with the help of everyone.
But first, I want to talk about the government’s intentions, which are to dispose of accumulated waste of over 20 million tons or 66 percent of the 30 million tons in total. We will also designate 83 locations as hazardous waste landfills. This will allow us to better manage waste in Thailand. 174 tons out of 250 tons of hazardous waste have been safely destroyed so far. We will then set up waste management centers in different provinces in a bid to tackle 2.18 million tons of waste in the future.
Before we succeed, we must initiate the first phase first. The model waste management plan (2016 – 2021), with a span of six years, aims to manage and treat community waste in the most appropriate way. We want to be able to get rid of 75% of community waste by 2021. Waste management service includes waste separation, waste movement, and waste treatment. By 2021, up to 50% of waste must be clearly separated.
As a result, we are now considering raising the garbage disposal fee. The rate has been 20 baht for a long time. The public makes many requests. Every request requires money but we have no intentions to incur any more burdens. We could also reduce the use of plastic bags. We must begin to separate garbage in our home and in the community. There will be enough garbage cans and waste separation bins. We will need more personnel to move the garbage. And we will turn garbage into something useful. In short term, we can use garbage as fuels and fertilizers. This is a good way to create value out of waste. In the future, we hope that we will have a waste-to-energy plant. People are worried about consequences of having waste-to-energy plant. But today, there are a lot of technologies that prevent the impact. Machineries are very advanced. The government only wants the best for the people. We don’t want waste management to be an issue that distresses people. I hope this project can be realised.
How much cooperation is the government receiving from members of the public in terms of waste management?
Everything has gotten better. The government only asks for cooperation from the public.The Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration are the main agencies overseeing this waste management. The problem is that we are under budget. Also, the problem will not be completely resolved if people don’t reduce waste. Nevertheless the government will live up to its responsibilities. The Ministry of Interior has been instructed to come up with an effective solution. The budget may have to be allocated differently in different areas. We need to set an example so that everyone can see how the problem should be handled. We will find a way. This also concerns supportinglegislation. The project requires a tremendous amount of money.
This past week, many economic issues made headlines on the news. I have heard many government policies about the economy, businesses, SMEs, startups, Thailand 4.0, or Biz Club. Could you please elaborate on that?
First we have to look at how the world has changed or is changing in terms of the global economy. We must look at the concept of connectivity and the single market idea. We also have to look at the environmental impacts. We must keep all of this in mind when developing our nation. We must consider many factors. In the era of Thailand 4.0, there must be agriculture, agro-industries, and industries that will make Thailand a stronger nation. Everything has to improve in this respect. Thailand has a large number of farmers. I admire their hard work and patience. Today, the government supports all potential operations. Then, we must also prepare for the aging society in Thailand, not to mention the drought and other changes. We must look at all aspects and look forward to Thailand 4.0. Thailand will have a lot of elderly and we will need money to take care of them.
The economy is not the only thing that drives the country forward. The world economy is slowing down. To avoid the impact, Thailand should focus on innovation and new technologies, creating value to our products. Innovation comes with design and will allow us to compete with others around the world. This is what we call “Thailand 4.0”. Many things have to be done in many sectors – agriculture, agro-industry, machinery, and the environment. We have been in Thailand 3.0 era for so long. For the past 10-20 years, Thailand has seen large investments from overseas and improved infrastructure. Now, we have to consider what could have been better in the past, so that we can improve ourselves in the Thailand 4.0.
Another thought is that today’s world doesn’t rely solely on technologies. Wisdom will play a vital role in innovation and production. There will be more competition in the IT industry. Many startups have emerged in Thailand. I would say more than a hundred. Younger people in Thailand and abroad have the will to start their own businesses, using their wit and intelligence to compete. I admire their efforts.
Another thing we need to do is build political stability in Thailand as well security in other sectors. This includes the development of human resources.
Now let’s talk about Biz Club. It is a mechanism to support and promote Thai businesses as well as mobilize domestic economy. It seeks to support OTOP businesses and SMEs. The goal is to have their products certified and patented. We’ve overlooked at this issue for so long. But this is changing now.
We must be able to make business connections, so that the grassroots economy can earn enough income. A vibrant grassroots economy is a key to building economic stability. If people in this sector are strong, the country’s economy will be stronger. We will earn more from exports. We will have products with more potential when innovation comes into play. The industrial sector must focus on investment promotion in industrial zones and special economic zones. But I can assure you that what we do, will pave the way for future development. We are not obliging anyone to invest. What we can do is encourage. The government amends legislation and gives incentives to attract investors. But that doesn’t automatically mean they will invest. In the meantime, Thailand has to be ready for future growth.
Another method is to building stability from within. Once villages, subdistricts, districts, provinces, and regions are strong, the country will be strong. Each region will have its own unique products to offer. We can then connect to CLMV countries, the rest of the ASEAN Community, EU, and other western countries. There has been step-by-step progress. Biz Club network comprises businesses, organizations, financial institutions, and universities. They will work together to create a business network.
It is divided into 5 categories. The first one is OTOP products and social enterprises. I’ve already talked about this. Social enterprises are non-profit organizations supervised by the people and funded by the government. The profits it makes goes back to the people. People are the main shareholders. People are the ones benefiting from social enterprises. These enterprises already have the expertise and understand the market. Most people don’t know the concept of marketing. They only know how to grow and produce. They don’t know how to sell. Social enterprises will allow them to sell their products, remove middlemen from the equation, and support other businesses in the circle.
This is how monopolies can be dealt with. To be a free and democratic country, Thailand must embrace free and fair trade. Free trade allows businesses to grow. However, we must make sure businesses are socially responsible. This is how growth is realized from within. Stability should be built inside the country, just like His Majesty the King has said.
The second group is wholesalers and retailers. Problems here will be fixed through law enforcement. Trade related legislation has to be modernized while illegal conduct will be brought to justice, such as bribery. If the problem does not get fixed, wholesaling and retailing will have problems. The burden will then fall onto people’s shoulders because wholesalers and retailers want to make more and more profits. This problem must be addressed now.
The third group is producers and sales representatives. When products are produced, they must be sold. It would be better if people were in the buying chain. People may not understand or some people may want to interrupt this process. There remain those who distort the truth, lying to the media. Please stop this.
The forth group is tourism and hospitality. We will make sure nominee shareholders are brought to justice and take legal action against unlicensed tour guides. There are a lot of problems we are trying to handle. A number of laws will be revised. Authorities must also improve themselves. Tourism is one of Thailand’s leading industries now. Some people say money from tourism flows out, but it is not true. Tourism money goes back to the people. Entrepreneurs make money from tourism. I ask the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Commerce, and other related agencies to tackle existing problems. Everything will be clearer. Many perpetrators have been arrested, especially scammers. We want to improve and renovate tourist attractions and improve facilities at all tourist sites. This is why we need cooperation from the locals.
Another sector with great potential is the spa industry. Thailand has a lot of interesting things. Foreigners have great interests in herbal medicines, traditional treatments, and beauty services. The good news is the National Legislative Assembly has recently passed a bill on Thai traditional treatments, hoping to reduce people’s burdens on medical expenses. We have to bring people with knowledge of traditional medicine back. Herbal medicines should be reintroduced to the society while making sure that the quality is up to standards. The Spa and beauty industry has great potential to grow.
Today, the Biz Club network has 8,181 members, covering businesses in all 77 provinces across the country.
Another topic I would like to talk about is prices of consumer goods. When the prices of fuel go down, it doesn’t always mean prices of goods will be cheaper. It is only a part of the equation. We must look at other factors like the weather. Drought causes prices of consumer products to rise. Farmers are unable to produce; therefore, prices of crops go up. The government is trying its best to stabilize prices of all goods. And I have already instructed the Ministry of Commerce to look into this matter. Farmers are the ones we should be empathize with.
The market is a mechanism is beyond control. Please look at other factors contributing to price hikes. Stop buying if it is too expensive. You can always find alternatives and substitutes. Please understand that rainfall has been scarce, resulting in agricultural difficulties as it drives up prices of crops. Lemons are expensive, as I have seen.
Just yesterday that I saw this news about longyard beans being sold at 100 baht per kilogram. They never used to be this expensive. This is just an example. Rich people still eat them despite the price increase. I am not rich so I have stopped eating them now.
How long do you think it will take before the economy starts to recover? I understand that there are internal and external factors contributing to the rise and fall. People have high expectations for the government to solve economic issues.
It is a difficult task for a country like us although we are a developing country. In the past, politics was the main factor holding the country back in terms of the economy. Did anyone ever tell you this before? I am the prime minister and I feel obligated to explain everything I’ve done. However, I cannot force everyone to understand me. But think about how we will move this country forward. We need to create an understanding and stop circulating lies without thinking about the country’s best interests. We must look at the common good before thinking about ourselves. This way, the government will be able to help you and the country. If everyone says they don’t want to pay more taxes, the country will not make progress. On the other hand, people make a lot of demands on the government that require money. The government doesn’t have the money to meet all your requests at once. The government cannot cut down budget for public health, public utility, or education. We only want to inject more money into these sectors. We want people to have more income so that the country will have more income. It is impossible to meet every request simultaneously when we are under budget. No country will be able to do this.
What if people save up more? Will this help?
It would really help. His Majesty the King has always taught us about saving. Saving is about setting money aside. It starts with setting up a household account. Some people complain that they don’t have any to save. They must look at all their expenses. We need to cut down on unnecessary spending. You have to set some money aside for debt payments. If you do it carefully, you will have some to save. Explain this to your children and encourage them to save. Tell them how much money you make. Without an explanation from their parents, children tend to listen to their friends who value expensive items. Your children will want the same as those kids. What you need to do is make your children understand the reality of budgets. Children will then be more empathetic and our society can improve. Saving is not the same as being tightfisted. His Majesty the King’s Sufficiency Economy principle teaches us to be prudent when spending. Without spending, the production sector will be put on hold. Factories will be closed. What will workers do then? They will not be able to earn that 300 baht a day without a job. Please look at the big picture.
Thailand is becoming an aging society. We now need to look at the pension situations as well.
I know that you place emphasis on this matter as well.
You must be able to distinguish all these issues. The pension system is divided into 3 categories. State funds include the government pension fund, allowances for senior citizens, teachers’ fund, and social welfare. As for the private sector, there is the provident fund. The third one is for the public, meaning people need to save up for themselves.
We have had these funds for a long time, but we have never had a long term plan for our citizens. People who are working now will turn old. This will bring on an aging society. After a thorough review, the government sees that there is an inequality in the pension system. It lacks effective management while related laws are not complete or out of date such as the National Savings Act which has been enforced since 1991.
The law was never actually enforced. More than 20 million people who are entitled to the aforementioned funds are not able to claim their rights because of the law. The current government has already made this happen, having opened registration for people entitled to state funds since August 20th, 2015. At present, there are more than 400,000 members. 641 million baht has been disbursed while the government has funded another 316 million baht, bringing the total number to 958 million baht.
If everything had been done right in the first place, people would have had this money a long time ago. People used to ask the government to support them all the time. The government would have been overdrawn had it tried to meet all those requests. We will find a way to earn more revenue. Higher incomes lead to higher government expenses. Everything goes back to the people.
Today we have an interesting statistic regarding the National Savings Fund. If we break the statistics into regions,
the Northeast has 51.2 percent, the Central has 19.7 percent and the North 10.2. This depends on occupational differences and development. People with low income must rely on their own savings .
The composition of farmers is highest at 68.8. This accounts for around 287,000 people. Merchants account for 12.1. Students and the new generation are also interested in savings. Therefore, the Ministry of Education must focus on personal finances and using the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy on the basis of knowledge and ethics. We need to create understanding about this and implement things accordingly.
Regarding national reforms, it must also come from participation from the public. However, we see that there are groups of people who disagree with the government on this which includes some activity on social media. Can you please touch upon this issue?
Reform can’t be a one-side approach. Reform is taking into consideration all aspects of a problem and finding solutions. We can do this through new laws and of course this will have an effect on existing elements. The NCPO is implementing reform to create equality and justice for all citizens. Therefore, everything must be on the basis of ethics. Ethics means not only caring about personal profits or interests. Therefore, when this message is distorted, conflicts and differences can arise.
Reform consists of 31 agendas and 37 topics. These things also comprise of phases from 1 until 5. We need to have four, 5 year plans to comprise a 20 year strategic plan. We want Thailand to have stability, prosperity and sustainability. The current government is currently acting on agendas that can be done now up until 2017, or at least to get things started. Whatever we cannot finish during this time we will pass on to the next administration.
Where are we now regarding reform?
We’re at phase 1 from May 2014, which is resolving conflicts. Another important matter is the rule of law. Currently, there is only heated conflict on social media. I ask that all those responsible refrain from trying to being the country back into conflict. What I expect is that the first phase of reform, which includes the work of the government and the reform councils, must be built on and expanded. We have various committees on this.
When I turn on the television, I can see that many people are working hard to bring about reform. People need to begin by looking at what issues exist around them and see if laws are sufficient or are modern enough. If not, we need to make amendments or pass new laws. You need to understand that reform is a very long process but Thailand must start somewhere. We don’t want the country to revert back to past conflicts. We need to develop the country from the core so there is substance and a strong foundation.
There are a lot of unfortunate things due to conflict such as disappointments and loss of lives and property. We must reform everything, whether it is the government, civil servants and society. We must all reform ourselves. I’m also trying to reform myself and make changes to myself. I can be quick-tempered at times. But I must continue to work hard and bring about real reform. I would like to thank all reform bodies for their work for the country.
If you look at the principles advocated by His Majesty the King, one of them is to really understand the issue and all of its intricacies. If it’s regarding agriculture, it must involve land, water and locals. We must have information on this in order to best solve issues and we must have laws that address all related matters. Therefore, today I am listening to everyone, including the press, social media and the people who are working for me.
I read reports and often find them useful. I would therefore make relevant adjustments because I now understand the issue better. Some do not provide feedback through the right channels and often distort information despite them not even understanding what the issues are. I want the public to determine for themselves which source of information they should trust. I also would like the press to work on the basis of ethics, truth, and objectivity. If there are issues with the government’s work, I welcome suggestions as long as these suggestions do not create conflict. Otherwise, this is not ethical.
So the government listens to useful suggestions.
We accept all suggestions. I am not restricting any freedoms. People can travel freely, with the exception of those with pending court cases, as according to the laws. But given what we have been through, a period of conflict, we need to be careful not to create more conflict. So there are areas where we have to pay special attention to, such as events or entities that can re-instigate conflict or violence. I’m not limiting the press’ freedom despite having the legal authority to do so. But I have warned about the risks of conflict returning, through news reporting that is not objective but based on conflict and controversy.
We’ve just observed World Press Freedom Day
I have talked about this many times. The press has called for more freedom but they already have it. However, they can’t break the law, which means not reporting distorted facts and not taking sides. I’m not asking for sympathy. However, I must explain that I am only human. Some things I must seek for your cooperation and some things I must use the law, depending on the circumstances. If you express disagreement based on substance, of course I will accept it. However, if you only seek to damage and not be responsible for your actions, how can anyone accept that?
Looking at the political dimension and how we are a Pracharat, if you include the public in the discussion of politics of the past 10 years, how do you see the political dimension at this time?
We must first be objective and acknowledge that we are in the middle of this conflict and in the past, we have served as tools in this conflict. We must step back and look and what each side is doing and what is right and what is wrong. We must be responsible for our own duties according to existing laws so that we can create trust. Today, we must create more trust in society, between the people and the government, between the government and the bureaucracy. Whoever who has done wrong must be willing to go through the justice system. I’ve therefore used section 44 to enter these people into judicial procedures even though they want to run from the law. After they are apprehended and questioned, we will send these people to the courts and move forward with the judicial system. Therefore, I’m using section 44 only for those who have broken the law. We must enforce existing laws because it has been something that we’ve been lenient about in the past, often leading to corruption. Today, some people still want to create conflict and distort the facts to the public. Therefore, we don’t see anyone as enemies. I can affirm that all cases are handled according to the law, and correct procedures, whether it is using the military court or any other court. This includes the use of lawyers and bail. 44 is used to expedite the process. If people follow the law, they will have the justice system on their side. However, if people continue to create conflict and break the law, then the work that we’ have done for these past few years will be for nothing and we will go back to where we started, back in conflict. Do you want that? I don’t think the Thai people want that. They are tired of conflict. I’m here because the country is at peace now and because people are cooperating with each other and me. I would like to thank these people. I saw on the television earlier of how people are commending the work of the government, but are still waiting for the fruits of various policy implementations. Foreign countries have appreciated the reform agendas of this country and they are also waiting for the results of the implementation. They also appreciate how the public is cooperating.
During this past labor day, several groups have made requests to the government. This year, there were 15 requests. Can you talk about how you’ve handled this please?
They mostly concern social security which is something that we’ve already started work on. We will look at the suggestions each year as an indicator for future improvement and to follow up on uncompleted projects. An important issue is wage hikes. If we increase our wages too much, investments will decrease because we wont be competitive. We do not want to be in a position where we have higher wages but don’t have modern technology while our human personnel aren’t ready. We are part of the AEC, which means we must allow the flow of workers from various countries. Another issue is whether we are ready to be management of various international companies. Have we adequately equipped ourselves with English or the languages of our neighbors? I’ve had the Ministry of Labour expedite this matter. Another issue is that in this competitive world, foreign investors may relocate from our country to other countries. I would like to inform you that the government has established various committees to oversee all these labor issues and discuss them with various businesses on what is the best course of action. Today, we have higher wages in comparison to other countries in this region. On the other hand, we must understand the management of companies. These companies may need time to make necessary adjustments before implementing wage hikes. If they aren’t given ample time to adjust, these foreign companies could relocate elsewhere. The government has discussed with the Ministry of Labuor whether wage hikes could be implemented first in certain areas or in certain sectors. We’re currently pushing for the “S Curve” of 5 new industries. If we do not succeed at this, we will only be left with our old existing industries which won’t get far because of a lack of competitiveness. If we have these problems, we won’t be able to raise wages anyway.
So you urge that workers have more patience and understanding about this issue…
I understand that people have been asked to be patient for a long time now. People cite higher costs of living but they must examine how they can be more frugal with their 300 Baht per day budget as well. The government is trying to support them and I’ve supported various infrastructure projects. All of this involves the hiring of laborers. But we’ve found that Thai laborers have gone abroad to do construction in western and other Asian countries. We are left with foreign workers and we are also working with international labour standards and UN standards on labour welfare.
Another issue you talked about was how you place great importance to Thai traditional herbs and medicinal practices. Can you talk about the progress with this please?
As I’ve said, they are considering legislation in Parliament right now. It’s something that we should have done decades ago but at least it’s being done now. The UN talked about the issue of ensuring accessibility to public health, so our support for traditional herbs and medicine is something that people can procure and grow at affordable prices.
Will we have an “herbal city”?
Yes, we have an herbal city with herbal gardens that are quality ensured. We have traditional practitioners and herbal medicine along with modern doctors and medicine. This is to support those with low income and to provide preliminary care for ailments where traditional medicine can suffice.
Other countries are interested in this as well.
Yes, they are interested in investing and I’ve instructed the Ministry of Public health to see this through. We must become the source of herbal medicine of the region and the world. I think we have much potential in this industry. For example, I’ve suggested that we plant Indian velvet beans. I’m not saying that everyone should do this but this is one of the viable options available.
Have you tried the Indian velvet bean yet?
Yes, it’s bland and a little bit bitter. But don’t think that just because something doesn’t taste good that its bad. We need to think about how we can stay healthy with a clear mind and a get enough rest. I may need some herbal medicine to relax as well.
Among many things that you need to consider, another issue is about the extreme heat and summer storms that accompany this heat.
We only had rain for a few days due to the summer storms. However what followed was reports of damaged houses in 48 provinces. I’ve tasked the Ministry of Interior, NCPO, military, and all agencies to help repair these damaged houses. This aid consists of providing the raw materials necessary for them to repair it themselves. You can see how soldiers in all provinces are assisting in fixing homes. Before we enter the rainy season in the middle of May, there will be another summer storm. We need to ready ourselves to store water to relieve ourselves from the drought and we also need to have flood-prevention measures. Another issue is potential injuries from structural damage, such as billboards falling. Today, we are all accelerating our efforts, at the provincial, district and local levels. Local officials need to take care of their communities. The military, police and education institutions must also contribute to solving the problem. If there is flooding, there will be traffic jams and broken down vehicles as always. We need to examine what the root cause of the problem is and allocate our budgets accordingly. For example, we need to see if we can afford a pipeline overhaul in Bangkok. In the past, there has never been a joint effort to do this systematically. We didnt improve on our old infrastructure. At the same time, people in the cities are growing but our irrigation system is deteriorating. We are not even recycling this water like how they do it in other countries. Therefore, we must look at the root problems, how we can manage waste water at the community level. We need to all join hands in solving this issue. There are demands for more roads but in order to build a road, highway or train line, this all takes years. Why? Because of internal conflicts and having to reshuffle officials. Therefore, people need to start by initiating solutions from themselves first, such as by using cars only necessary and carpooling.
Is there anything else you would like to say to the public, whether it be any suggestions or concerns?
I want to say that I sincerely wish to return a sense of happiness to the Thai people after what we have been through, and I am resolved to solve our problems quickly. Therefore, our method has been to solve these issues at their root causes. This involves amending laws as well as enforcing them. I want all Thais to join in on cultivating a sincere and common determination and conscience to move the country forward into Thailand 4.0 and overcome our obstacles . What is the core of our country? It is our nation, religions and the monarchy. If we venerate to these institutions, we will be creating resilience for our country. People must do things for the greater good, where everyone knows their duties in the grand scheme of thing. We must reduce our conflicts and create a just society with righteous people who care and are principled and embrace the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty the King.
This is an auspicious year as it marks the 70th anniversary of His Majesty’s Reign as well as the 84th Birthday Anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen. I want this year to be a truly auspicious year where everyone can enjoy a return to normalcy, where justice prevails, and everyone cooperates with each other again. We should build on what we can agree on and settle our differences. This settling may require the judicial process in some occasions but I’m confident the public understands. I don’t think what we’ve done has been detrimental for the country. I don’t want to see anything damage the country anymore. I am not referring to any particular thing, but we are all Thais. Today, all countries enforce the law and we must do the same..
I would like to thank the public and various social groups. As for NGOs, I want them to understand that we are mindful of how we can move forward and make progress without infringing on human rights. I also don’t want there to be any distortions of facts regarding this and many have defended the rights of those who have been arrested. I want you to ask the officials if they’ve indeed violated any rights. I want to ask whether denouncing your own country would do you any good. All you will do is damage the country and the people. I’m not forbidding this, but I want people to first come to us for the facts instead of relying on other sources. I want people to listen to the reasons of the government as well.
I also would like to commend the public for their cooperation and their enthusiasm to participate in the referendum and the election. I wish you all success. Thank you. Sawasdee Krub.
I would like to thank you as well, Mr Prime Minister
As the Prime Minister has said, this year is an auspicious year where he wants all Thais to be filled with love for each other, unity and to be able to cooperate with the government in solving various issues. During this show, we have seen the Prime Minister’s intentions of returning a sense of happiness to the people and the government’s efforts in solving various issues. What’s most important is the cooperation from the public.
And that concludes tonight’s show with me and the Prime Minister. Stay tuned next week for another episode of the programme. See you next time. Sawasdee Ka