The former Thai Prime Minister who won two elections and presided over a period of unprecedented growth in the kingdom, on Saturday, noted that he was without a Thai passport and that the kingdom had fallen behind in the world since the day he was removed from office on Tuesday 19th September 2006.
On what may turn out to be another historic few days in Thailand with large anti-government protests kicking off, the Thai politician who has overshadowed events in the country for the last twenty-five years, ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, issued a statement that was both poignant and provocative when he asked how the coup staged on the same day 14 years ago that removed him from power had changed the future for a young Thai teenager in 2006? He said that Thailand had fallen behind and had failed to respond to changes in world capitalism which had let the kingdom disadvantaged.
On the day that Thailand witnessed its biggest anti-government protest since the coup of 2014 and on the anniversary of the 2006 military coup that preceded it, the Thai Premier who was ousted on the same day fourteen years ago, weighed into the current political standoff.
Thaksin Shinawatra, the politician who has been the dominating spectre of Thai politics for the last twenty years did so in a personal Facebook post.
Military moved in at 6.30 pm that Tuesday in September 2006 while Thaksin was at the UN
Thaksin was attending a meeting of the United Nations in New York on Tuesday the 19th of September 2006 when the Thai military, led by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, moved in at 6.30 pm to seize power.
It came after a year of political protests but also as Mr Thaksin was leading his second elected government having won reelection in early 2005 in a landslide.
The ex-premier presided over a period of unprecedented growth in Thailand but also had a divisive management style and became embroiled in controversies not least on the tax treatment of the sale of his private firm to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund which provoked public outcry on the streets.
A question for Thailand’s current leadership
Today, as his social media post fourteen years later generates a reaction online, the former Prime Minister, who lives in exile in Dubai, is a fugitive from justice facing a jail sentence in Thailand for corruption.
Thaksin has retired from politics but on Saturday, he posed a pointed question particularly to those currently leading the kingdom.
Thaksin asked them if it was not already time for them to change their outlook and way of thinking?
The former PM who led populist governments that sought to empower the poorer masses in Thailand while pursuing a parallel track of privatisation and more entrepreneurship, on Saturday, suggested that the world has changed considerably since his time in power.
Thaksin warns Thailand of the current dangers of the world capitalist system, need for new policies
The former prime minister warned that the capitalist system that promotes a global world may no longer be conducive to Thailand’s best interests, or at least, that policies based on this way of thinking need to be reappraised.
The former prime minister suggested that Thailand’s recent leaders had failed to anticipate the changes worldwide that have occurred with the global capitalist system and suggested that the kingdom had consequently ended up being exploited rather than benefiting.
He said that current government policies being pursued by the kingdom were outdated.
Thailand has fallen behind in the world
The ex-premier said that Thailand has fallen far behind since his time in power and that it had failed to adapt and keep up with the changes that have occurred in the world order.
Mr Thaksin suggested that it was time for Thailand to think differently and cautioned that the post-Covid 19 world will become even harsher and will be driven even more by selfishness.
A teenager in 2006 is today faced with more limited prospects even with an education as a result
His question was framed on the basis of how Thailand is seen today compared to how it was seen in September 2006 when he attended the UN General Assembly only to abruptly discover that he had been unseated by the military in Bangkok.
Thaksin posited that many of the teenagers of 2006 who had looked forward to an improved future with the prospects of a good job, owning a business or a car, today find themselves facing a far more limited and uncertain outlook because of a failure of leadership.
He suggested that this was even so for those who had received a good education.
‘I don’t have a Thai passport’
‘Good friends are harder to find. I mean international politics. Even though I don’t have a Thai passport, I always realize that I am Thai, love Thai people, love Thai land, never change,’ he concluded.