BANGKOK – Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha reiterated strong determination to fight corruption in all his announced eleven reform sectors with assurance that any cabinet minister who under performs will be removed, while explaining the need to have many generals in his cabinet is to deal with certain security matters.
Speaking on his weekly TV programme, “Returning Happiness to the People,” Friday night for the first time as the prime minister, Gen Prayuth began his speech expressing his deep gratitude for the King on appointing him as the prime minister.
“This has been the highest honour of my life – and not only for myself, but for my entire family,” Gen Prayuth said.
He said he was happy to bear the responsibility in moving the country towards a sustainable future.
“From now on, I will be responsible for moving the country and the people forward and working together in national development for the benefit of all, ” he said.
He thanked the National Legislative Assembly for selecting him as the PM and thanked Thais for having confidence in him.
He turned to corruption issue and said “corruption has been deep-rooted in Thai society. The problem needs to be seriously addressed now. In order to see concrete and rapid progress within one year, we need cooperation from all sectors, including the state and private sectors, civil society, and ordinary people.”
He dismissed allegation that the National Council for Peace and Order has ignored the corruption problems in the national reform plans.
He said he had heard concerns from certain sectors that the NCPO has not included the prevention and tackling of corruption in the 11-point reform agenda.
” I wish to state here that the NCPO gives utmost priority to this issue and see it as one of the first that needs to be tackled by reforms,” he said.
The NCPO has set corruption prevention as important condition for every reform agenda, including political and administration reforms, he said.
He then called on all sectors to join hands to fight against corruption.
He asked the public not to criticise many retired generals in his cabinet much but to have confidence in their integrity as all would devote to work hard, not for any one but for the country.
Gen Prayuth said that the presence of military figures in his cabinet was necessary to deal with certain security issues.
“I want everyone in the country to look at the country first and do not pay much attention on individuals,” he said.
But he said if any minister under perform, he was ready to remove if their performance is poor or moral standard is low.
Gen Prayuth declared, “any cabinet minister who does not work well will be replaced. There is no limit in the number of Cabinet reshuffle. Bad guys will have to go and whoever is corrupt will be sent to jail. So please do not worry. This is my working style.
On the regional issue, Gen Prayuth says Thailand needs to increase competitiveness following AEC integration next year.
“We must raise our competitiveness to equal that of our neighbours, especially with some countries that can be considered to be both partners and significant economic competitors,” he said.
He also turned to the aged people with assurance that Thailand must speedily adjust the state social welfare system, so that the needs of the elderly will be looked after in an appropriate manner.
“It is an inherent Thai culture to take care of parents and the elderly as best we can,” he said.