BANGKOK – Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said Tuesday a joint panel resolved to strip ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra of his police lieutenant colonel rank.
The decision was made after a two-hour meeting of a joint committee made up of justice ministry officials, police and members of the Council of State, the government’s legal arm.
The move to strip Thaksin’s rank came after the former prime minister gave an interview in Seoul on May 20 alleging privy Councillors had masterminded the coup last year.
Gen Paiboon said the meeting mainly discussed a contentious legal issue of whether a policeman can be stripped of his rank when he was no longer in office., the Bangkok Post reported
The meeting concluded that the removal could be made because the Royal Thai Police Office’s 2004 regulations on deprivation of police ranks stated that both active and former police officer could be stripped of his rank.
Gen Paiboon said, however, Pol Gen Somyot would have to take further steps in stripping Thaksin of his rank because this was the police’s internal affair and he had no authority to order the national police chief.
The joint panel would submit its findings to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Meanwhile, Panthongtae ”Oak” Shinawatra, the only son of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has urged the government to go ahead with its move to strip his father of the police lieutenant colonel rank if it thinks it will make the country better.
Mr Panthongtae wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday that the government should get it over with as possible so it could move on to help the people who are fighting tooth and nail to make a living and waiting for state assistance.
“If removing his rank will help improve the country, just do it!!,” wrote the 37-year-old media executive.
With more power than its predecessors ever had and special laws at its disposal, this government has an edge over others, he said. Under its rule, the country could have been drastically upgraded and people’s livelihoods significantly improved.
However, complaints have grown louder about the skyrocketing cost of living, insufficient incomes, rising debts and unemployment, he wrote.
There are also drought and floods to contend with. Farmers were asked not to grow rice for fear of possible water shortages. Problems keep piling up, causing trouble in all areas, he wrote.
If these issues had been seriously tackled, the government would have won praise from the public without having to dig up the rank-stripping issue, he said.
Mr Panthongtae thinks his father couldn’t care less if his rank is removed.
“Some groups once tried to seek a police general rank for him in recognition of his many contributions to the country, but he immediately put a brake on it,” he wrote.
He added his father had gained international recognition for implementing the groundwork for successful universal healthcare for the underprivileged while serving as prime minister. No one recognized him when he served as a police lieutenant some three decades ago, said Mr Panthongtae.