Mixed response to emergency decree

The caretaker government's decision to invoke emergency law for a 60-day period to clamp down on anti-government protests has drawn a range of responses from those who believe officials had no choice but to invoke the measure to others who believe the move will be ineffective at curbing ongoing street rallies.

Ms Gan, an investment banker and member of the pro-election cadle-light protest group that meets at Benjasiri Park, told the Bangkok Post that she was sympathetic to the government's "inevitable" invocation of emergency law.

She argued that the law is necessary since the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) had caused damage to many government agencies and prevented civil servants from performing their duties.

"It might not be a good PR for the government but they seem to be desperate as foreign investors are fleeing Thailand. The government needs to enforce strict law," said Ms Gan, who asked to withhold her last name for security reasons.

She was referring to how ongoing anti-government protests are damaging business sentiments, citing the fact that that car giant Toyota is among companies considering reducing investment and cutting production if the political turmoil is further prolonged.

The pro-election candle-light protest group to which Ms Gan belongs is still debating whether to go ahead with their evening meeting scheduled to take place at the Sukhumvit park on Thursday. They fear they could be affected by the curb on political activity in groups exceeding five people.

But Zakee Pitukkumpon, a lecturer at Prince of Songkla University's Institute for Peace, said invoking the decree gives no real power to the government as long as enforcement agencies such as the military do not fully cooperate.

"Legally, the emergency decree might empower the government with help from the police, but people do not feel the government can really do anything. Invoking the law will only worsen the image of the country, especially the tourism industry,” said Mr Zakee.

Hara Shintaro, Malay language lecturer at the Prince of Songkla University, said he disagreed with the use of special security laws throughout the whole of Thailand, but said he recognised that government was desperate to increase controls at its disposal from the Internal Security Act to the more serious emergency decree.

Given that People's Democratic Reform Committee protesters had brought lawlessness to the capital and the police could do nothing to control the situation, the government is likely poised to ask the army to step in, Mr Shintaro said, adding that there is still a possibilty martial law could be invoked if the protest death toll rises. 

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 23/01/2014 at 06:14 AM
The way foreign investment is setup here it rigged to enrich the rich, the average Thai can't benefit the foreign company setting up shop has only 49% control over company, So rich Thai's control there business.and foreigners have no voice in direction there operation goes. They can't buy the land companies on. Or decide who will build plant. They required to hire Thai's in mangement to run operations then they need to get work permits. Even though there creating jobs for Thai's.
Discussion 2 : 23/01/2014 at 06:06 AM
Got it in a nutshell leotro thats what it is all about CONTROL living in the feudal past and wanting to keep it that way. The haves and the have nots
Discussion 3 : 22/01/2014 at 11:59 PM
The desire for democracy and political stability should stop being thought as a 'foreign' concept. Our fate is intertwined with the foreign community, and we should aspire to learn from their mistakes and achievements. Or do you wish for us to go backwards and dwell in caves and have thousands of our people jobless, begging for food?
Discussion 4 : 22/01/2014 at 06:49 PM
you are living in the feudal past Suthep and his protestors want to hang onto.
Discussion 5 : 22/01/2014 at 06:32 PM
Mr. Shintaro is wrong to say that PDRC bring lawlessness to the capital. They protest peacefully for over 70 days until the red shirts started their rally. May be you did not see whatbthey did in 2010.
Discussion 6 : 22/01/2014 at 06:00 PM
Without foreign investment Thailand will only sale rice. It has been a major agenda for Thailand to attract foreign direct investment which has been a precursor to the economy and live standards. Your comment misses the main point in is not about Thailand it is always about the Economy.
Discussion 7 : 22/01/2014 at 05:25 PM
Emergency Decree wants to shut down opposition TV channels . Provoke, provoke and provoke. Until the people get mad. Who is responsible ?
Discussion 8 : 22/01/2014 at 05:22 PM
It's no ordinary situation, these demonstrations are disruptive and liable to criminal prosecution but they are peaceful and not without justification. The govt will have to think of something else. They could sit it out but Feb 2 is the deadline. If the election fails they've lost, because then they become a lame duck caretaker govt with no power, sitting on a rice-scheme time bomb with no resolution in site. It's their clock that's ticking, they set it in motion. Anything that provokes a violent confrontation will mean they blinked first.
Discussion 9 : 22/01/2014 at 05:04 PM
I thought Toyota said yesterday it expected to increase output,who is telling the truth here.To impose such a draconian law will certainly make the rest of the world uneasy so good by tourism...
Discussion 10 : 22/01/2014 at 04:53 PM
Toyota and any ther companies voicing that they will go should just go. This is about Thailand and its future, not foreign manipulation

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