Polarisation widens in pro-democracy camp following “Salim Phase 2” drama
Thailand’s self-proclaimed pro-democracy movement has experienced another crack in their ranks, after key Pheu Thai supporter “Kam Phaka” referred to Move Forward Party’s supporters as “Salim Phase 2”.
Salim is a controversial term used by the anti-establishment movement and its supporters to describe people who support the establishment, particularly the military and the monarchy. It is the also the name of a Thai dessert, the very colourful appearance of which reflects how pro-establishment groups have been campaigning using different colours over the years.
On Sunday night a set of infographics were posted on the Facebook page of CARE, a think tank linked to Pheu Thai Party, explaining the Thai political epithet ‘Salim’ and what it means to be ‘Salim Phase 2’.
The post, borrowed from a lecture by Lakkana Punwichai, aka “Kam Phaka”, identified Salim Phase 2 as those who have supported coups in the past but became ‘woke’, during Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s rule.
According to “Kam Phaka”, they sought fresh hope in new political parties, such as Move Forward, whose main agenda lies in realising a welfare state in Thailand.
The post disappointed many in the pro-democracy camp, who view the political think tank CARE as a positive platform for exchanging ideas related to policies and politics.
On Twitter, some users said they are being labelled “Salim” now just because they support Move Forward and not Pheu Thai.
“Kam Phaka”, also a CARE member, admitted on Twitter that the controversial post was her content.
This dramatic episode reveals another schism between Pheu Thai and Move Forward supporters, stemming from the Parliamentary session last week which collapsed due to the lack of a quorum.
While Pheu Thai argued that skipping the session was a tactic to apply pressure for a dissolution of parliament, Move Forward was proposing a motion on an Alcoholic Beverage Control measure, which could end the current monopoly in the market, and they believed that Pheu Thai, as a fellow opposition party, should have been present to support it.
Move Forward supporters also took to Twitter to accuse Pheu Thai MPs of not doing their jobs as lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai supporters, including “Kam Phaka”, argued that the collapse of the meeting could have been avoided if enough government MPs had been present.