In Thailand The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) showed the government it was more than just noise outside Government House. The PAD petitioned the court to stop the government’s support for Cambodia’s proposal to list Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. In an unusual 2am ruling, judges voted nine to three to order the cabinet to suspend, at least temporarily, the Thai support in a joint communique with Phnom Penh.
The issues about the Preah Vihear Temple run deep in Thailand, and in a 1962 ruling the temple was said to belong to Cambodia. The Thai’s never really accepted that ruling although they abided by it to end the conflict over the site. Because of that, anything to do with the temple becomes a Pandora’s Box.
Although outside of Thais and Cambodians, few people see it at the same heightened level of sensitivity. When the issue of status is finally given to Unesco early next month, the matter will be mostly decided by people who are neither Thai or Cambodian. However that is not the topic of this story.
This story is all about the arrogance of the People Power Party and how they simply overlook little things like laws and the constitution when doing what they do. This issue is purely political at this point as PAD (quite easily at this point) finds reasons to attack the PPP lead government for simply not caring about the Thai people. Although this court injunction is possibly just temporary, it does rally the Thais behind the PAD giving them more than just a voice. For the courts to side with the PAD, that means the PAD also has teeth.
Where this now stands is very bad for any Thai who wishes to support Cambodia’s position. To even challenge the courts injunction would make any Thai person or group seen as a traitor to Thailand’s sovereignty. That will simply have the effect of giving another group of people with another reason to rally behind the PAD. No matter how it is cut, this is a win, win situation for the PAD, and a lose, lose situation for the PPP. The best the PPP can hope for is to show the temple is out of Thai hands. That would mean the Thai government now accepts the 1962 ruling that the Thai people never accepted in their hearts. There is 46 years of festering emotions waiting to come out on this, and most certainly it is not a good thing to be on the receiving end of this one. The next few days should be very interesting on more than just the political front in Thailand.
If the PPP only saw to follow the laws of Thailand, this issue would not be anyplace as near white hot as it is. Needless to say this whole issue could explode into some form of violence. That would give the government the reason it needs to declare a state of emergency effectively ending the PAD rallies. However this may be dealt with in a more subtle way as the Thais who support Cambodia’s position may die of sudden lead poisoning.