Thaksin Shinawatra’s past behavior is once again coming from behind government podiums. Coming right out and saying they do not want to answer probing questions that show transparency is one of the contributing factors that lead to the downfall of Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.
This Deja vu is not totally unexpected. In fact for the most part it was expected. All it took was a journalist who took the government to task and started asking pointed questions and did not let them skirt the required answers. In the past Thaksin simply held up a sign with an ‘X’ on it saying he did not want to respond to the question. In the end almost all questions were met with the ‘X’ as people became more embolden and failure to answer cause more questions to be asked.
Quoting the Bangkok Post
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung insisted that he will not answer questions from the media if Channel 7 reporter Somjit Nawakruasunthorn was among the interviewing group.
“From now on, I won’t give interviews if Ms Somjit is in that particular group of reporters because I don’t want to have a quarrel.
“And I’ve been Thaksin’s servant for a long time and don’t you know that,” Mr Chalerm told reporters on Monday.
During an interview last Thursday, the deputy premier in charge of national security had an argument with the Channel 7 reporter, who is known for her persistent and tough questioning and has been criticised by red-shirt supporters for the questions she asked Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the past.
Mr Chalerm accused Ms Somjit of siding with the opposition Democrat Party after she continually asked him to clearly state which political party was behind the Pitak Siam group’s anti-government rally.
She threatened to take legal action against Mr Chalerm, who then told her that she can sue him if she wants because he did not say anything wrong.
Ms Somjit argued: ‘‘If you’re calling me sympathetic to that party is not defamatory, would calling you servile to [ousted premier] Thaksin Shinawatra amount to defamation?’’
“That’s certainly defamation,” Mr Chalerm replied.
The reporter then challenged him to file a police complaint against her.
Clearly just by the body language Mr. Charlerm displayed he was uncomfortable and unprepared for legitimate questions. So essentially the stage has been set to start dissecting the government as the outer layer of Teflon seems to have now worn away in some places. This will now eventually digress into the government not making any comments to the media as more and more journalists will get the scent and go on the attack. Once the government is unable to use the media except in prepared statements and not taking questions, their support will start to significantly erode and political bonds will start to fray.
For what it is worth, this more or less signals the political pendulum has reached the end of it’s swing and is starting back in the other direction. Couple that with the pending Senate debate, a censure debate in Parliament, and an anti government rally all hitting the same week, there will be some damage to the government. If Prime Minister Yingluck fails to answer questions herself and defers the questions to others yet again, that is simply more fuel for the fire that will eventually boil them alive. Needless to say, the time has come for yet another bag of popcorn and watch the action.