DPM Prawit defends Thai Niyom Yangyuen programme not a canvassing trick

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has brushed aside criticism that the presence of soldiers in rural areas under the Thai Niyom Yangyuen development programme was intended to canvass for votes from the grassroot people to pave way for the political future of the incumbent regime.

He reiterated on Wednesday (March 7) that the military personnel’s primary job was to reach out to the rural people to listen to their problems and their needs which would be compiled for submission to the next government so remedial measures or projects can be tailor-made to resolve the problems and to address the needs.

Citing an update report from the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), the deputy prime minister said that military personnel had already covered 50 percent of 7,463 tambons  and 81,064 villages they were to visit to meet with the people.

He claimed that there has not been a single case of corruption or misuse of fund since the launch of the Thai Niyom Yangyuen development programme in early February.

According to Isoc, military personnels have already reached out to three million people in mostly rural areas.

Problems raised by the people are grouped into four aspects: narcotics, economy, infrastructure projects and environment.

Isoc noted that demand for the election had not been raised by the people in all the meetings with the soldiers.

According to the government, the Thai Niyom Yangyuen project is to be implemented in four phases:

The first phase which is to be undertaken during Feb 12 and March 20 will focus on finding out the needs of grassroot people in each of over 80,000 villages, analyse their problems and work out projects to meet their needs.

The second phase to be undertaken during March 21-April 10 concerns the building of public awareness and implementation of social contracts while the third and fourth phases to be implemented during April 1-30 and May 1-20 will focus on people’s participation in various projects and thought adjustment.

About 150 billion baht budget will be allocated from the Central Fund to implement all the various projects worked out during the four phases.