Prayut slams ‘un­re­al­is­tic’ poll pledges

Bangkok Post - - FRONT PAGE -

Prime Min­is­ter Prayut Chan-o-cha has crit­i­cised cam­paign poli­cies of key po­lit­i­cal par­ties as “un­re­al­is­tic and im­pos­si­ble” and urged peo­ple in Chi­ang Mai not to lis­ten to “empty” elec­tion prom­ises by politi­cians. He did not sin­gle out any po­lit­i­cal par­ties or in­di­vid­u­als, but it is be­lieved that the prime min­is­ter was re­fer­ring to the Pheu Thai, Demo­crat and Bhum­jaithai par­ties. Speak­ing as he led cab­i­net min­is­ters on a visit to Chi­ang Mai — a Pheu Thai strong­hold and the home­town of fugi­tive for­mer prime min­is­ter Thaksin Shi­nawa­tra and his sis­ter Yingluck — Gen Prayut called on res­i­dents to not to lis­ten to those who “caused dam­age to the coun­try”. “Don’t lis­ten to peo­ple who used to cause dam­age to the coun­try. I hope you’ll get a de­cent gov­ern­ment after the elec­tion,’’ Gen Prayut said in front of about 5,000 peo­ple who were at Ra­japra­janu­groh 31 School in Mae Chaem dis­trict to wel­come him. It has been es­ti­mated that the ri­ce­pledg­ing scheme un­der Yingluck’s ad­min­is­tra­tion caused losses of around 500 bil­lion baht. Yingluck fled abroad in Au­gust 2017, ahead of a court rul­ing that would have seen her sen­tenced to up to 10 years in prison for neg­li­gence. The prime min­is­ter also at­tacked other politi­cians’ cam­paign poli­cies, which he de­scribed as “un­re­al­is­tic”. “Some say they will give 600 baht to ev­ery child at child­care cen­tres, while some say they will sup­port stu­dents’ ed­u­ca­tion through to univer­sity,” said Gen Prayut. “I am not nit­pick­ing for faults, but the gov­ern­ment has to clar­ify whether it can de­liver those prom­ises.” “They are liars. Don’t let them de­ceive you, par­tic­u­larly those who say they will clear all debts na­tion­wide,” he said. “That’s im­pos­si­ble.” Gen Prayut’s ref­er­ence to a 600-baht money al­lo­ca­tion for child care was an ap­par­ent dig aimed at the Demo­crat Party, while the ref­er­ence to free ed­u­ca­tion was sup­pos­edly tar­geted at the Bhum­jaithai Party. “Don’t lis­ten to those who promised you land or to dig wells for ev­ery house­hold. This is im­pos­si­ble,” he said. “They are not telling the truth. Ev­ery­one likes these prom­ises, but are they even fea­si­ble?” Gen Prayut said. The prime min­is­ter also de­fended his gov­ern­ment’s record. He said his gov­ern­ment has plans to build roads na­tion­wide, which is a part of the regime’s mas­ter­plan for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. The gov­ern­ment has also de­vised mea­sures to ad­dress farm­ers’ debts — cur­rently es­ti­mated to stand at about 400 bil­lion baht — which in­cludes a mora­to­rium on debt re­pay­ment, Gen Prayut said. “How­ever, some politi­cians have promised that they will clear all farm­ers’ debts if they are voted into power,” he said. “This is both un­re­al­is­tic and im­pos­si­ble.”

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