Ask a random person to name a Palang Pracharat MP. The names you will get are these: Pareena Kraikupt, Piboon Nititawan, Sira Janejaka, and Thamanat Prompow. Not exactly the dream team of the people you would want running the country.
Palang Pracharat was created as a political party to elect General Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister. But also, it was meant as a showcase for the rule by the elite class.
Of course, the party must also have the old-school “political godfathers” and their patronage networks, namely the “Gang of Three Friends,” Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Anucha Nakasai, and Somsak Thepsuthin.
Yes, there’s also General Prawit Wongsuwan as party leader. But being in bed with the military is part of the system of elite rule.
Such is the underdeveloped system of Thai politics.
Misrule of the elites
Nonetheless, the real champions were supposed to be the “elite class” of technocrats and politicians. But gone are the technocrats, Somkid Jatuseepitak, Uttama Savayanon, and Sonthirat Sonthisajirawong due to public pressures over their failure to heal the economy and internal friction within the party.
The newer generation of Bangkok elites who have forayed into politics, such as Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta and Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan, aren’t faring well in the public eye either.
The former’s mainly known for his war against fake news, in the operation code name “news General Prayut doesn’t like.” The latter faces demand from high school students to resign. Their 2013-1014 activities as leaders of the PDRC (People’s Democratic Reform Committee) tainted their image in the younger generation’s eye. The movement obstructed the democratic election and welcomed the military coup, under the slogan “Shutdown Bangkok, Restart Thailand.”
Instead, Thailand has been “Server Error” for the past six years.
But that’s neither here nor there because again, ask a random person to name a Palang Pracharat politician. The four names in the first paragraph of this article immediately come up.
The questions to the rest of the party MPs are these: Who are you? Is there anyone else there? Why don’t you speak up? Do something to rescue your party’s image. Do you really want your political party to be known by the four individuals mentioned earlier?
Don’t you think you owe it to the 8.4 million people who voted for your party to speak up?
Sexism and racism
From Palang Pracharat politicians to their friends and supporters, the elites may not care much for democracy and equality under the law for the Thai people. But they are passionate about #metoo and #blacklivesmatter.
However, just this week, both Pareena and Sira engaged in victim-blaming of a young lady allegedly assaulted by her teacher during high school. Sira even went so far as questioning how the young lady dresses to provoke lust.
Furthermore, Sira chastised Progressive Movement’s Piyabutr Saengkanokul and i-Law’s Jon Ungpakorn, saying the former has a French wife and the latter had an English father. Therefore their political motives are suspicious, and they likely are traitorous.
Sexism and racism are issues near and dear to the hearts of the elites. They passionately post about #metoo and #blacklivesmatter, demanding justice and equality under the law in the western world. After all, the elites, who are Palang Pracharat politicians and their backers and supporters, are western educated and well familiar with western issues.
The fact that they aren’t keen on justice and equality in Thailand is an example of existential hypocrisy, which deserves an article on its own, not this one.
This article’s purpose is to point out the failure of the elites. That a political party, which is supposed to be the showcase of “enlightened elite rule, keeping the mass content and grateful,” is mainly known by the likes of the four MPs mentioned earlier.
The public is neither content nor grateful.
The question to the rest of the party and their backers and supporters of the so-called elite class is this: Are you just going to sit back and let Pareena, Sira, Paiboon, and Thamanat be the face and voice of Palang Pracharat?