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  • OPINION

    Government's competence in question

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 24/01/2020

    » It's just about official. Despite having a government, Thailand is rudderless. Approaching six years under more or less junta rule and military influence, irrespective of an election last year, this once up-and-coming country has degenerated into an authoritarian-bureaucratic state that is unsuited and unfit to address public grievances and demands of the 21st century. Yet Thailand's biggest problem is that this government, a motley coalition propped up by a crooked constitution and led by former junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, intends to stay for the long haul despite its growing incompetence. Unless the Thai people's world-famous patience and tolerance are boundless, political tensions will likely mount in the foreseeable future.

  • OPINION

    Thailand's prospects and risks in 2020s

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 31/01/2020

    » Notwithstanding recent worldwide celebrations to mark the arrival of 2020, Thailand should be seen as having entered not just a new year but a new decade. Since World War II, Thailand's journey over the ensuing decades meandered through ebbs and flows, overcoming critical bumps and barriers along the way. When 2030 arrives, this country of 70 million predominantly happy-go-lucky people will have faced a prolonged reckoning. While its near-term prospects are likely to worsen, Thailand's long-term future will be either better compared to the past two decades or bad for the long term.

  • OPINION

    The global politics of the coronavirus

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 07/02/2020

    » It is not surprising that the deadly coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in China's Hubei province has become a contentious issue in international politics. While the number of fatalities has reached 565 and more than 28,000 have been infected in China to date, the issue has become politicised and polarised because it emerged in an Asian superpower that is aggressive in its pursuit of global supremacy.

  • OPINION

    Underpinnings of a Thai mass shooting

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 14/02/2020

    » Thailand's worst apolitical mass shooting on a Buddhist holiday last weekend left a trail of deaths and injuries with one lasting question that will be hard to answer. As the country reels from the shocking tragedy and loss, the Thai government needed to respond by pulling the country together in a healing process, coming to terms with the situation and drawing the right conclusions to prevent this sort of mindless killing from ever taking place again. Instead, the authorities from the prime minister to the army commander-in-chief focused too much on themselves and failed to show sufficient empathy with the people and provide a way forward for Thai society.

  • OPINION

    How to stifle Thai political party system

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 25/02/2020

    » No compromise is in sight for Thailand's politics where the stakes are at their highest. It is a winner-takes-all reality. The quick demise of the Future Forward Party and the 10-year ban for its key leaders, who phenomenally captured a large swath of the electorate less than a year ago on an aggressive reform agenda, bear myriad and far-reaching implications.

  • OPINION

    Challenges from outside parliament

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 06/03/2020

    » While it managed to survive the recent censure debate more comfortably that it had anticipated, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government is now at a new crossroads. While the threat from inside parliament has subsided owing to the opposition's disarray, challenges from outside the legislative chamber, on the streets and in the court of public opinion are likely to intensify.

  • OPINION

    Thailand needs firmer Covid-19 action

    Oped, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 20/03/2020

    » While being on the right track, the government's latest response to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) by closing schools and entertainment venues, as well as putting off the Songkran break, is likely to prove too little, too late, once again. As other countries have shown, the sooner firm and hard measures are put in place, the better and likelier efforts to contain and remedy Covid-19 will be successful. An early global lesson from the fast-spreading virus is to be pre-emptive and pro-active, "front-loading" the pain of social adjustments and economic damages rather than playing catch-up and ultimately paying a higher price.

  • OPINION

    Asean must unite to resolve Covid-19

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 27/03/2020

    » As the Covid-19 pandemic runs its course and wreaks havoc worldwide, the numbers look bleak. Nearly 500,000 people have been infected, and more than 21,000 had died as of Thursday. The international system has reverted to every country for itself, as borders have gone up and globalisation has come down. The world as we knew it is unlikely to be the same, but regions as they were remain relevant. Here, Asean, as Southeast Asia's regional bloc, must face up to the crisis together or risk being torn apart by it.

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