DUBI – Former Prime Minister and Billionare, Thaksin Shinawatra claimed he had seen the coup against his sister’s government coming as soon as demonstrators hit the streets in 2014.
Thaksin said during the People’s Democratic Reform Committee demonstrations, soldiers had mingled with protesters.
“And in April, they started to put bunkers on the streets… Then I knew,” he said, ruling out the barriers were there to protect the demonstrators.
He added another tell-tale sign was the way the top brass communicated with his sister, former PM Yingluck Shinawatra, but declined to elaborate.
“There’s no doubt this was a planned event,” he said.
On the upcoming election, the former prime minister said it could come this year despite the 2017 roadmap for it set forth by the Prayut Chan-o-cha government.
“The situation doesn’t allow them to stay long. A government which doesn’t care for the people can’t last long,” he said.
On the new constitution, Thaksin remains firm on his view.
“It’s a charter that doesn’t care or respect people’s voice. Even though the whole country votes for a government, it can’t run the country nor can it implement its platform. It has to comply with the so-called national strategy council who controls elected governments.
“It’s the worst constitution ever, even worse than Myanmar’s before national reform.”
Thaksin also accused the junta of failing when it comes to reconciliation while defending the rice-pledging program.
“The rice-pledging scheme is the only policy in the world where the policy itself is not wrong but policymakers are. It’s a policy endorsed by voters. The principle behind it is: if we’re proud to be the world’s top rice exporter, we should help make the profession sustainable,”
He claimed the government put the policy in place and took responsibility at the policy level. At the implementation level, officials put it into action.
“It was unfortunate that India sold a record 9 million tonnes that year. Traders also didn’t buy and we had to keep stockpiling. There were also great floods that year.”
Thaksin said for a program of this scale, there were always loopholes. “The bad thing was that we did not have a computerised system for it.”
Asked why he did not return to Thailand, Thaksin told Al Jazeera that fears over his safety were stopping him from returning to the country.
“If I was there, who could guarantee my safety?,” he said. When asked if his life was in danger Thaksin replied: “definitely,” pausing before adding that while Prime Minister there were 14 attempts on his life including a 2006 foiled car-bomb assassination near his residence.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said he hopes fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will not speak anything in public which will hurts his own home country â€œbecause he is a Thai and must love the countryâ€.
The deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs made the above statement when asked by a reporter about Thaksin being invited by the World Policy Institute to give a talk in New York on March 9 about democracy and situation in Thailand.
He said he was not worried about what the ex-prime minister was to speak at the forum but hopes that the latter would speak something positive to the country otherwise the country cannot move forward.
Personally, he said hopes Thaksin will loves his home country because he is a Thai.
Interview was with Wayne Hay Senior Correspondent, Al Jazeera English