|Thaksin won’t have his loyalty questioned
Published on September 09, 2005 - Govt not trying to usurp royal powers, PM insists
“There are lots of rumours now, and I know all about them. I can’t be swayed. Don’t worry, I’m staying to the end of my term,” Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra insisted during his second weekly “Meet the Press” session at Government House yesterday.
Thaksin broke his silence publicly for the first time about His Majesty the King’s powers after three weeks of controversy about the status of Jaruvan Maintaka – still auditor-general – and uncertainties surrounding this year’s high-level military reshuffle.
The top-brass rotation was granted Palace approval yesterday.
Thaksin appeared concerned following the enthusiastic interest provoked by an unprecedented panel discussion on His Majesty’s powers held on Tuesday at Thammasat University. The “public debate”, as the organisers called it, attracted some 2,000 people.
The premier apparently realised he had to do something before the situation spun well beyond his control. People might think he had circumvented His Majesty’s powers. And it appeared that Thaksin intentionally used his forum yesterday to respond to critics who claimed that his government was trying to do exactly that.
A reporter from iTV, which is owned by the Shinawatra family’s business empire, asked him about the issue. He silenced his critics by saying he would avoid any action that might disturb His Majesty the King.
“This government serves under HM the King. We are more than 100 per cent loyal to His Majesty. We do everything to make His Majesty happy,” he said, warning critics that they should not speak too much about His Majesty’s powers.
“Lice will infest your head,” Thaksin said, referring to an old saying about bad consequences to people who lack deference to the monarchy.
He seemed relieved that one issue was resolved, after His Majesty approved the military list without, he insisted, any changes.
But there is another deadlock yet to be broken: the status of Jaruvan. Thaksin has always denied government involvement in the Jaruvan affair.
Yesterday was the 90th day after Senate Speaker Suchon Chaleekrua submitted Visut Montriwat’s nomination as the new auditor-general to HM the King. This is still awaiting royal endorsement.
The situation remains at an impasse. Suchon has flown to the United States. Jaruvan says she will maintain her low profile and her silence about her status. Thaksin insists the controversy has nothing to do with him. He has stayed above the fray ever since MPs from the ruling Thai Rak Thai party pressed for the expulsion of dissident MP Pramuan Ruchanaseree for his criticism of the country’s leadership.
When a delighted Thaksin spoke of Jaruvan’s case and His Majesty’s powers yesterday, it appeared he wanted to dismiss speculation that the government had tried to undermine Jaruvan’s status, whose nomination had been endorsed by His Majesty.
“I graduated from the Pre-Cadet School and the Police Academy,” said Thaksin. “I went through a process that instilled in me a great sense of loyalty to the country and the monarchy.”
Now that Thaksin has emphasised his pledge of royal allegiance, critics will be kept at bay, at least for a while. Breaking his usual silence signals a cooling-off period, until, of course, some other action by his government spawns a new controversy.