Forget Politics and Unite in Face of COVID, Prayut Tells Nation

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha speaks in a televised address on June 17, 2020.

BANGKOK — Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday evening urged Thais to set aside political squabbles and work together for a “great Thailand” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a televised address, Prayut said a unity is needed more than ever following months of business shutdown and damages caused by the coronavirus. Despite criticism from the opposition and some private sectors reps, the government continues to enforce the Emergency Decree and bans certain business establishments from reopening.

“Thais should have a better life. We must stop wasting time talking about issues that are not creative,” Prayut said. “We must not allow dishonest political games … to drag down the country’s progress.”


Prayut made the comments during his 12-minute address, in which the Prime Minister can be seen sitting behind a desk and looking unusually casual by the general’s standard.

“COVID-19 has destroyed the abilities for millions to make a living, devastated businesses of all sizes, and forced many households to deplete their savings,” Prayut said. “I would like to start off today with a national mission to plan a great Thailand together, under a nation-building program that I called ‘Thais Building Nation Together.’”

He went on to thank medical professionals and frontline workers in the coronavirus pandemic, and promised to listen to opinions from the public.


“The government must listen to the voices of the people more,” Prayut said. “I will provide an opportunity for people to assess the government.”

The current enforcement of the emergency rule is scheduled to expire by June 30. Government officials have sent mixed signals on whether it would be extended for the third time.

Supreme Armed Forces Commander Pornpipat Benyasri told reporters he’s open to lifting any regulations and legal measures that affect businesses and people’s livelihood, but health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said there’s currently no plan to lift the emergency law.