‘Probe your own brother’

> Yingluck tells junta chief to take ac­tion over new cor­rup­tion claims

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

BANGKOK: Thai­land’s first fe­male prime min­is­ter yes­ter­day told the man who ousted her gov­ern­ment two years ago to in­ves­ti­gate his own brother over cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, in an un­usu­ally strong broad­side against the junta.

Yingluck Shi­nawa­tra was booted from of­fice shortly be­fore army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power in 2014, the mil­i­tary’s sec­ond coup in less than a decade.

Since then she has been hit with a se­ries of junta-led pros­e­cu­tions in­clud­ing a retroac­tive im­peach­ment, an on­go­ing crim­i­nal neg­li­gence trial that could see her jailed for up to a decade and a sep­a­rate move to seize over US$1 bil­lion (RM4 bil­lion) in civil dam­ages.

The last two le­gal cases stem from a pop­u­lar but fi­nan­cially costly rice sub­sidy scheme that Yingluck’s gov­ern­ment pushed.

“The prime min­is­ter (Prayut) says that all the le­gal ac­tions against me are based on the law and are not bul­ly­ing,” Yingluck wrote on her Face­book ac­count yes­ter­day.

“I would like the prime min­is­ter to ap­ply the same logic and jus­tice given to me like he gives jus­tice and pro­tec­tion to his brother and other peo­ple who are on his side. Be­cause the laws should be en­forced for ev­ery­one, not just used only against my side.”

Yingluck’s com­ments were a di­rect ref­er­ence to new cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions that have sur­faced this month against Prime Min­is­ter Prayut’s brother Preecha Chan-O-Cha, who is also a se­nior army gen­eral.

Lo­cal me­dia said one of Preecha’s sons had won a se­ries of lu­cra­tive con­struc­tion con­tracts from Thai­land’s Third Army, which Preecha used to com­mand.

Preecha in­sisted his son won the con­tracts in a fair ten­der process and de­nied any wrong­do­ing.

But it is not the first time the junta chief’s brother has had to deny neg­a­tive head­lines.

Ear­lier this year he ad­mit­ted help­ing an­other son land a well-paid of­fi­cer’s job in the mil­i­tary.

And when the junta or­dered se­nior of­fi­cials to re­veal their wealth – part of a post-coup at­tempt at trans­parency – Preecha had US$1.2 mil­lion in his bank ac­count – money he said was mil­i­tary as­sets he was look­ing af­ter and not his own.

Such head­lines have stung Prayut, who has de­fended his coup as nec­es­sary to root out po­lit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and end years of in­sta­bil­ity be­tween com­pet­ing fac­tions.

He ap­peared to dis­tance him­self from his brother in com­ments yes­ter­day af­ter re­turn­ing from New York, the first time he has ad­dressed the is­sue in de­tail.

“A brother is a brother, it’s not the same as me,” he said. “He is not stupid. But I do not make a guar­an­tee for him be­cause it is his re­spon­si­bil­ity.” – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.