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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has made an exasperated rant against the Thai people for disobeying traffic rules.
But he said in reference to road rules: “If you want to die, just ignore the state”.
PM Prayuth was quoted by Sanook following meetings about organization ahead of this year’s Songkran festival in two weeks.
He called on all Thais to follow the law and also asked everyone to behave respectfully as the country was still in “an important period”.
He was referencing the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol last year.
Authorities have already said that activities at Songkran will be toned down as a continuing mark of respect to the beloved departed monarch.
Prayuth’s own rant comes at a time when Thaivisa normally publishes a comment piece about an issue affecting the country – the midweek rant.
He began with a synopsis of how the Songkran festival has changed from a polite traditional event into something more akin to war.
He said: “Don’t break the law. Songkran used to be a Thai cultural festival we could be proud of not a chance to dance provocatively or pour buckets of water over each other.
“Don’t annoy other people when celebrating – we don’t have as much water as we used to have”.
He then went on a tirade attacking his country folk for disobeying the law causing the carnage on the roads each year, despite the best efforts of his administration.
“If you want to die, don’t believe the state (by following the law).
“We are doing our best. We have tried to forbid everything – everything except breathing.”
“Everybody talks about the carnage but the people have to take responsibility by following the law”.
He proceeded to talk about invoking special powers under Article 44 to deal with the matter but he asked that if that fails to change people what is next?
The government will have nothing left to make people change their ways, he ranted.
Clearly irked by the situation he even made a reference to Thai’s habit to put their faith in Buddha and their religion rather than the
law when it came to the rules of the road.
“We have told you about seat belts, the illegal overloading of vehicles,” he continued citing two laws that are regularly flouted.
Pointing his finger at the Thais he said:”You say you don’t know. You always say you don’t know the law. Even if I invoke Article 44 I don’t expect anything will change”.
In an apparent reference to the videos shown at driving centers to promote good habits on the roads he intimated that the Thais attention span was too short.
“You need everything to be fun – after less than two hours of watching a movie you switch off”.
Finally he said that observance of the law must come from the people. Though he accepted that the police must enforce the law he said that they often let the people off.
“Soldiers don’t want to shoot anybody,” he railed.