23 May 2024

The government does not have a policy on how to deal with unrest in the Deep South and it has confused Southern people with the claim that the current rubber price increase is the result of government’s success in the crackdown on smuggled rubber, claimed former prime minister Chuan Leekpai during the general debate in parliament on Thursday.

The Democrat MP claimed that the rubber price has not increased this year only in Thailand. It has also risen in Malaysia and Indonesia and the increases are the result of the supply and demand mechanism, not any successful crackdown on smuggled rubber, as claimed by both Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao.

He said that the government will be criticised if, in the future, the price of rubber starts to fall, adding that he would like to know whether the government has a Plan B to cope with a price drop in the future.

Chuan said that unrest in the Deep South is a crucial issue that involves human life, which is more important than agricultural products, adding that people living outside the region are barely aware of what is actually happening there because the media no longer reports on the violence and how many people are killed or wounded.

He recommended that people who want to know what is happening there just monitor the Palace news about the governors in the three southernmost provinces or representatives of the King attending the funerals of the victims.

Chuan said he would like the government to pay more attention to southern unrest and not to repeat the major mistake of the government in the office in 2001, which resorted to heavy-handed methods to deal with insurgency.

Then he mentioned the name of Thaksin (Thaksin Shinawatra), prompting a protest from Deputy Finance Minister and Pheu Thai MP Julapun Amornvivat who suggested Chuan keep his speech within the rules of the debate.

The Democrat MP then said that the only tangible achievement of the government in the past six months is the breach of the rule of law over the special privileges granted to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, without mentioning his name.