11 July 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has dismissed a claim by a media outlet that he is a puppet of the Thai military for his government’s decision not to dissolve the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC).

In his X post on Thursday night, the prime minister said such criticism is misleading and he would like to set the record straight.

“Dissolving ISOC was never a part of the Pheu Thai party’s (PTP) policy, neither before, during nor after the election. The fact is reinforced by the policy statement I made in parliament. The PTP and the PTP-led government intend, however, to modernise the army and integrate it into the democratic process,” he said.

He did admit, however, that ISOC, which was created during the Cold War, is not relevant today and it is his duty to ensure that the organisation’s role aligns with democratic values, upholding the rights and protecting the freedoms of the Thai people.

“We believe in incremental change, especially given the two decades of political ideological conflicts Thailand has experienced,” said the prime minister, as he stressed that his government does not choose a path of confrontation and destruction, but rather of harmonising ideas and working for the benefit of the people.

Noting that his party was elected by the people and he was endorsed by parliament, he urged his critics not to undermine the voice of the people. He said that, if he were a puppet, he would choose to be a puppet of the people.

The prime minister’s X post was in response to an opinion piece “Srettha shows true colours as military-backed stooge” by the Thai Enquirer. The media criticized the prime minister for not supporting the Move Forward party’s bill seeking the dissolution of ISOC, noting that his decision is more than just a stand on a single policy “but a revelation of character.”