Friday, August 08, 2008

A Statesman Sent Into Exile

I read with great disappointment of how Thailand has treated their statesman, Thaksin Shinawatra. Allow me to stress and remind those who look at him as a corrupt leader that there is no need for him to embezzle any money, give any bribes, or take any kickbacks. He is after all, a billionaire.

Also, allow me to highlight that under Thaksin's rule, Thailand have progressed economically when he governed Thailand with his Thaksinomics. Thaksin administrated Thailand the CEO management way.

The policies of Thaksin's administration covers a vast range policies that include affordable healthcare, stimulus economic packages, soft cheap loans to the poor, Government subsidies and assistance to Northern Thailand and the farmers, infrastructure development and many more. I believe the icing would be the success of Thailand in repaying the IMF debts 2 years ahead of schedule.

This debt to IMF was incurred during the Thailand Asian financial crisis. No, I am no expert of Thailand's economy. But I have said it many times. Thaksin is a great leader and he has led Thailand to better days.

Yes, I do agree Thaksin had his fair share of ugly side. The primary issue here is that, as an apprentice in Economics, I strongly believe in the partition of financial assets into two zones - national security assets and non national security assets (i.e. commercial, private, etc). I leave the rest of the breakdown of these assets to you.

Shin Corp is a group of companies that has a massive interest in Shin Satelite, telecommuncations sector and information systems. These companies can be listed as national security assets. Thaksin is to be blamed for selling these assets to Temasek. Yes, I do agree with that from a nation's point of view.

The Criminal Court of Thailand recently sentenced Potjaman Shinawatra (wife of Thaksin) to 3 years in jail, although she has already left for political exile (some say asylum) in Beijing. It is strongly tipped that Thaksin will also leave Thailand on a trail of a pile of lawsuits from the Attorney General's chamber of Thailand. My deepest sympathy for Potjaman Shinawatra for she is merely a proxy in this case. I do not know the whole case presented in Court so I do not want to comment whether or not the judgement and the case was politically motivated.

Despite these, I would say that it is the legislation in Thailand that provided Thaksin's team of accountants, financiers and lawyers to evade taxation on the sale of Shin Corp. The sale did not break any law. How then can the people blame it on Thaksin? The noble House in Thailand should instead focus on improving their taxation legislation, review policies on controlling national security assets, and work on their economy.

Moreover, Thaksin's removal as PM is unconstitutional, although if we said that at that time, it will be a seditious remark against HRH King Bhumibol since the junta had the informal backing of King Bhumibol to take over the administration. Also, it seems like although Thaksin's allies are in power now under the banner of People's Power Party, Thaksin and his family is not a free man.

In the beginning, it was widely tipped that Thaksin will return home from exile in Hong Kong and United Kingdom once PPP govern Thailand. And it all happened. Rumours begin to go around that Thaksin's return to Thailand is merely a show and he will be let off for all the alleged crimes he did. No, that did not happen when evidently, Potjaman was sentenced to jail.

Nobody knows if Samak's administration tried to intervene in the Criminal Court case. For the record, Potjaman left for Beijing on board a Thai Airways flight along with Thai PM Samak recently after being sentenced to 3 years in jail with the motive of seeking asylum overseas.

No matter what it is, Thaksin will leave Thailand again and this time, we are not at all certain if he will be given the chance to return or not. For all he did, he is a revered man or perhaps a Saint to many in Thailand. For the Bangkok elite, Thaksin is their enemy and he must be removed.

Thailand, honestly, needs Thaksin and his policies. The high living costs globally are being felt in Thailand also. The farmers are already beginning to face financial crisis with banks, institution and Government agencies unable to assist as much as during the time in Thaksin's era. One solution? The Palace needs to come forward to once and for all solve the political crisis in Thailand.

This is one crisis that have been bugging Thailand for far too long. The PAD and PPP have been locking horns over this matter with accusations thrown at each other. If you ask me, I hope to see Thaksin make a return to Thailand.

If the people of Thailand believe he has committed wrongdoings such as abuse of power or implementing unconstitutional policies, then limit his powers as the leader of Thailand with a Special Select Committee led by The Palace of King Bhumibol with members that consist of academicians and politicians from PAD and PPP.

Otherwise, if there are fair and unmotivated evidence that he has committed crimes under the law of Thailand, then, I have nothing to say except to let the Prosecutors to do their job.
Nevertheless, I do not hide the fact that I am an ardent supporter of Thaksin's policies. We can always look at the good side and all his beneficial policies to the millions of Thais in education, healthcare, anti-drug schemes, IMF repayments, economy and many more.

A grand statesman, Thaksin Shinawatra. Just to deviate a little, I am wondering if this is a season or the century where billionaires fall due to politics. Remember Silvio Berlusconi - the former Italian PM, AC Milan club owner, tycoon and entrepreneur? Well, good for him, he is still the PM of Italy now. He held the position in 3 different times. Kinda rocky huh?

Also, of course we have not forgotten the Yukos tycoon in Russia. Mr Mikhail Khodorkovsky. His billions, if the reports were accurate, have been eroded to a millions at an approximation of USD 500 million. Yes. It is true. This man was once the 16th richest man in the world. He claims that his sentencing to jail was politically motivated because he stood with the Opposition against the Kremlin of Putin and Co. However, Russian Government prosecuted him firmly for crimes of tax evasion and fraud.

Nevertheless, we can see the link where tycoons are best not to step their legs into politics. Politics is not a ground for everyone to play. Not even the most successful businessman on Earth can. From the history and the information of global events, we can see empirically that business and politics are two different world. So, perhaps it will be a lesson for future aspiring politicians from the business world?

I read from the papers yesterday that Penarik Beca's blog owner have been detained under the Sedition Act. Yes, my blog articles do appear in Malaysiakita-Bakaq as some have already noticed. He comes to my blog once awhile and leaves some comments. Although we do not know each other personally, we are friends in the blogosphere. I wish him all the best in his trial for sedition. Take care, my friend.

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