BANGKOK — A highly influential royal adviser on Wednesday said he’s confident the government of junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha is “not corrupt” and has honestly worked for the public’s greater good.
Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda praised the government and the army for taking great care of the nation, when several top government and military figures went to pay him respect at his residence in Bangkok this morning as is tradition on the eve of the national Songkran holiday.
“Thank you mister Prime Minister, my beloved friend,” Prem said. “I can say with full confidence that mister Prime Minister’s government is not corrupt, because he has truly worked for the good of the public. An honest man must be open-minded and must work for others, not for themselves nor their close associates. I’ve always said that this government has done a very good job. You can see it for yourself.”
Among the top figures who visited the 98-year-old Prem today were deputy junta chairman Prawit Wongsuwan, army chief Apirat Kongsompong, police commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda and deputy PM Prajin Juntong.
The endorsement comes amidst the struggle to form Thailand’s next government, with the results of the March 24 election being intensely criticized by the public due to several alleged irregularities. Both the pro-junta Phalang Pracharath, which nominated Prayuth as its PM candidate, and its archrival Pheu Thai have claimed the right to form a governing coalition.
During the visit, Prayuth thanked Prem for his recognition of the importance of the government and the military’s duty to protect the nation, religion and monarchy. Prem, who served as premier from 1980 to 1988, then thanked Prayuth back for seeing and carrying on such values.
“I’ve said that protecting our traditions and culture is the way to protect the nation,” Prem said. “I’d like to say this again to mister Prime Minister: protecting culture is protecting the nation.”
“I wish the Prime Minister, and all my friends, good health and good spirits so they can work hard for others, and for them to be praised more, or less criticized … I wish for the grace of His Majesty the King to protect us while we do good work for our nation.”
It wasn’t the first time Prem showered honeyed praises on the junta leader. Back in 2014, he commended the coup staged by Prayuth that year as a necessary intervention that “restored peace and order to the country.”