11 July 2024

Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit expressed concern today (Saturday) that Army Command-in-Chief General Apirat Kongsompong’s speech, given at the Army headquarters yesterday, may fuel the fire of hatred among a Thai people, who are already divided by their political differences.

The army chief talked about a “hybrid war” being waged by a collection of ill-intentioned politicians, remnants of communist ideologies and anti-establishment elements, to destroy the country.  He also accused some politicians of trying to indoctrinate young Thais with their “destructive ideas”.

The fire-brand politician, who was on the campaign trail in Nakhon Pathom province to help his party’s candidate contesting the by-election, said that General Apirat made the speech without a proper understanding of the context of Thai society, which is undergoing changes, adding that his speech will not help to guide the country forward, but will fuel the fires of hatred.

He called on all parties to stop fanning discontent among people of different political ideas or loyalties.

He said that he would not engage in further argument with General Apirat, but said that party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul would issue a clarification today about the party’s political standpoint vis-à-vis the allegations made by the army chief.

Regarding the warning from the Chinese Embassy in Thailand to some Thai politicians over alleged meddling in the protests in Hong Kong, Thanathorn said, since the embassy did not name names, he was not sure whether it was him that the embassy had targeted.

About his brief meeting with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong, he said that they discussed democracy, rights and liberties in different contexts.

Meanwhile, Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Mr. Thepthai Senpong, said that General Apirat’s controversial speech has raised the political temperature, which might lead to confrontation between old and new political forces, resembling the political situation prior to the October 6th, 1976 bloodshed, albeit in a different context.

He said any act or speech which may inflame divisiveness cannot be good for the country.

Political activist Srisuwan Janya said he will ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate General Apirat for an alleged breach the Defence Ministry’s ethical code over his controversial speech.