Submit Press release  ∑ eTN Team ·  Advertising  ·  eTN Awards  - Worldtourism Events    


A lot of fun controversy is getting out of control

by Reinhard Hohler, eTN Chiang Mai  Dec 26, 2008

According to the latest news on , Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Wednesday strongly defended his foreign minister over reported comments that the occupation of Bangkok's airports by protesters was "a lot of fun."

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya meanwhile issued a partial apology for his statements. But he refused to retract them, saying only that he was sorry, if there was any misunderstanding.

"I apologise to all Thai people, if my comments have caused misunderstanding, but I can assure them that I have no ill-intentions and I did not mean to hurt our country," he told the media.

"I cannot deny what I have said, but it may have been misquoted or taken out of context to make a misunderstanding. I can reaffirm that whatever I have done or said was to uphold better democracy."

He claimed remarks quoted by Britain's Daily Telegraph about the week-long siege by demonstrators trying to bring down the previous government had been taken out of context.

Mr Kasit played a key role in the yello People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which ended the airport blockade after a court disbanded the ruling party loyal to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, paving the way for Democrat party leader Abhisit's rise.

The opposition has vowed to single him out in the coming confidence debate in parliament beginning on Monday. Some opponents have labelled him as filling the cabinet quota for the yellow-shirted PAD.

But the prime minister leapt to his defence.

"His comments were made before the royal command appointed him as minister. He later explained to me what he had said and that what appeared in media was inaccurate," Mr Abhisit told reporters.

"He merely wanted to convey the message that there was no violence during the occupation but the way the media reported it amounted to him endorsing the shutting down of the airports," he said.

However, Mr Kasit has refused to condemn the closure of the airports during several public appearances before and after his appointment.

The siege of Suvarnabhumi international Airport and Don Muang Domestic Airport left around 350,000 travellers stranded and caused major economic damage, with exports dropping last month for the first time in six years.

Abhisit's appointment of Kasit has proved the most controversial in his new cabinet, especially after Kasit was quoted by the Telegraph as saying last week that during the protests the "food was excellent, the music was excellent."

Mr Kasit, a regular speaker at the protests, has only suggested that the protests, including blockading the airports, should be seen as "pushing the process of democratisation forward."

For Sunday, December 28, the the red-shirted UDD faction plans a mass rally ahead at Sanam Luang in Bangkok to force the prime minister to dissolve the house and call for a new election.

A lot of fun controversy is getting out of control

Premium Partners