By Frank-this blog political journalist
After the failure to launch the top police post and subsequent in-denial, what are the options now for the right wing Abhisit government?
Southern Police State Model Dealt a Deadly Blow:
The top police appointment was seek out by Abhisit because of his intention to implement the “Police State” Southern Thailand model, where police through the control of illegal activities, are a key power broker that politicians in Southern Thailand have relied on to grab permanent hold of power. That model follows many developing countries right wing practice of using threat and intimidation.
However, in Thailand, there is a twist:
The twist is that the amount of “grey” money going to the Thai police is significant. To get an idea, in a small tourist town of Pakchong, to get the police to establish a check point box, where police would come and sign in, it cost 2,000 baht per box per month. At the town there are approximately 150 resorts, most wanting two to three box per resort.
The amount of money in this regards alone in one small town, is massive. That amount of money have resulted is a long running practice in the Thai police to “Buy” positions at lucrative posts. This can also give our reader and indication to the amount of money involved in the top police post and it indicates billions of baht.
The Thai economy is reportedly to be understated because of the underground economy by as much as 25%. Thailand’s stated GDP is now in the trillions of US dollars and is the second largest in ASEAN.
The right wing agenda therefore of the Police State Model, therefore ran into a major road-block, being that the Thai police are the biggest culprit of organized crime in the country. The money and power in the Thai police apparatus, transcend politics and is a “Power Center” in itself-that will not be subjugated by outsiders.
Grassroots Influential Figures Gain Bargaining Chip:
The fall-out now, to the right wing, after this failure to launch, is that the entire underground economy of Thailand is now very much against the right wing government of Abhisit. We expect that there will be a massive political cost associated to this-as influential people at the grassroots level are now “On-Guard” against Abhisit.
We expect this struggle of power between the coalition to appoint the top police, is significant on many levels-apart from the obvious tension hurting a smooth operation of the government. However, we fear that this also has to do with the Strong Thailand stimulus that will see massive amount going to “Road Projects” where corruption will be extremely costly to Thai tax payers.
Underground Economy and Stimulus:
The key point to consider when evaluating the medium to long-term impact of this failure to launch of the top Thai police, is the inter-play between the underground economy controlled by massive numbers of influential Thais, and the opportunity in corruption from the road projects.
In understanding this, our advice is to look at the “Stimulus Money Trail” to gauge who is benefiting and where loyalty will lie. Our guess is that Phum Jai Thai Party is in the driving seat of the road spending and the police apparatus may support it-since it has established a de facto alliance with the party, as a result of the rejection of the Southern Police State Model. The money going into the road project alone is estimated to combined to about US$6 billion.
Phum Jai Thai Benefits for Now:
Politically, while it means Phum Jai Thai have and will benefit, the underlying super-structure of government cohesion had been weakened. How well can the Red capture on the opportunity is still a question mark. However, Taksin is a former police officer and his relative and supporters still exert influence on the police. The anti-corruption body, a very politicized by the right wing unit, adds to the mixture, being namely the rank and files and retired police officers, are now considered anti-right wing.
The bottom-line for the forces of liberty and freedom is that the currently right wing leaning Phum Jai Thai have now took total and absolute lead in the right wing’s fight for E-Sarn and the North-where illegal activities and the road projects are heading into the most.
Taksin and his liberty and freedom alliance may find the situation more challenging as ever before. It also means the potential rise to the prime minister post, by either Nevin or Chaovarat of the Phum Jai Thai party, if they can wrestle the two regions mentioned away from Taksin and the Democrats are marginalized further. This also means if the police apparatus, that have now excerted a level of independence, plays along.