BANGKOK – Chances for former Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return home after seven years of self-exile overseas have become dimmer in the face of another scandal allegedly involving himself and one of his close associates, who is currently a member of the cabinet headed by his sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
A sound clip has been circulated on the Internet and Thai social networks reportedly containing the voices of the deposed Thai premier and the army general during an informal talk about the former’s purported plans to come home.
Despite Yingluck’s assurances that the content of the sound clip is yet to be verified by authorities, it already has dampened the possibilities of Thaksin coming home in foreseeable future, according to Pheu Thai (“For Thais”) MP Cherdchai Tantisirin.
Yingluck, who is concurrently the country’s defense minister, promptly dismissed speculations that such alleged meeting between her brother and the deputy defense minister could jeopardize the smooth working relationship between the elected government and the military and may even foster mutual distrust.
“Such things will not affect the relationship between the government and the military,”Yingluck said, adding that everything in Thailand nowadays seems to be turned into a political issue one way or another.
But Gen. Yutthasak himself has denied that the voice in the controversial voice clip is his.
Some pro-government legislators said that it could take two or three years before Thaksin could eventually come home. Most of them, however, are almost sure that Thaksin will return. “No matter if the content in the voice clip is proven as authentic or fake, many people have already lent an ear to it,” one legislator said.
Now that the clip has become the talk of the town, any legislation that would pave the way for the planned return of Thaksin will be susceptible to a strong opposition inside parliament and outside, according to the Pheu Thai MP.