How the King can leave a lasting legacy for Thailand’s people.
Events since the May 2014 coup convince me that Thailand is now becoming more dictatorial, particularly when the political system is still under the auspices of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
He and his advisers set the rules and the law. He appoints and approves people to all the nation’s important positions, filling them with cronies loyal to him. He does not seem to care what the international community thinks.
Thailand clearly needs to change its monarchical system.
The misunderstood “constitutional monarchy”, as it is currently called, is often thought of in similar terms as systems like Japan and England. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The current Thai constitution states the King has the ultimate say – no matter which political party wins an election. All the relevant sections of each of the country’s constitutions clearly indicate that in Thailand the ultimate power lies with the king.
As such, it is unfortunate that the Thai King keeps a low profile and rarely speaks. The people do not know him or his mindset. And due to Article 112 of the criminal code, the notorious lese majeste law, people are not allowed to talk about or question him. Only praise and favourable comments are allowed.
With all the sovereign powers bestowed upon him under the constitution, one would believe that the King should be responsible for the welfare of the people. Once again, nothing could be further from the truth.
He is not held accountable for anything.
This is why I have to speak out against the regime and the Thai monarchy; even though I have been threatened by Thai royalist thugs constantly at home and at work, and through social media messages.
As the Thai King is known to have poor health, I wish that he would do one good deed for the Thai people before he dies, abolishing Article 112 from the Thai criminal code once and for all.
Further, he should order General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the current self-appointed prime minister, to set free all lese majeste prisoners and dismiss all pending cases. He should leave this legacy before he dies for the world to see that he does care for his people after all.
My family back home have disowned me and all my friends are too afraid to have anything to do with me, because I was charged with violating Article 112.
I hope that just someday soon and with the help of peace and democracy loving nations around the world, we will see a true democracy in Thailand.
If not, Thai people will continue to suffer for another generation to come.
Chatwadee Rose Amornpat is based in London. She was charged with lese majeste by the Thai military junta in July 2014. For previous New Mandala coverage of her situation see this post.