People’s political awareness high – defence spokesman

Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Defence Ministry and the military-led panel on national unity, is pictured on Jan 14, 2016. (Bangkok Post photo)

Public opinions on the ongoing process of restoring unity show that the people, particularly those in the Central, North and Northeast, have high political awareness, Defence Ministry spokesman Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich said on Sunday.

Maj Gen Kongcheep, who is also spokesman of the military-led panel on national unity, said the opinions of people throughout the country on the ongoing reconciliation process have been collated and analysed academically. 

This has led to the production of a document on the “joint opinions” of people in all regions by a sub-committee chaired by Gen Surapong Suwan-ath, the supreme commander.

The document has been forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon and a sub-committee led by army commander Gen Chalermchai Sithisart, which is currently in the process of drafting a “social contract”.

According to Maj Gen Kongcheep, the document concludes the following:

  • In general, the people are most interested in political change, followed by laws and the justice process, disparities in land occupation and water management. Other important issues are social affairs, the economy, education, public health, the mass media and corruption.
  • Most political parties and political groups attach the greatest importance to laws, the justice process and equality.
  • People in the economic sector want to protect their investment in their businesses.
  • Those in the social sector place emphasis on social disparities, including unfair sharing of natural resources.
  • Mass media organisations are concerned about their rights and freedoms  They want members of the media to monitor each other under close public scrutiny.
  • People in the Central region are more interested in politics than other issues.
  • Those in the Northeast place emphasis on politics, forest encroachment and social affairs.
  • People in the North place importance on politics and water management.
  • In the South, people are more interested in disparities in land occupation and water management.
  • Academics, students and the mass media are most concerned about political rules, ways of reducing conflicts and corruption, and sincerity on the part of the government in solving problems.
  • Government officials and leaders of local administrations are worried about being manipulated by investors, middlemen and local politicians.
  • Community leaders and villagers are most concerned with water management and the land they use to make their living.

Maj Gen Kongcheep said the public opinions obtained show an increase in the people’s political awareness, and offer an important opportunity for them to work together to solve social problems and move the country towards reform.

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