Thai school kids speak out for country’s democracy. What about Singapore’s?

February 22, 2006
Singapore Democrats

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A group of Thailand’s top students have openly criticised their Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for his undemocratic practices. It is a sign that Thai youths are politically aware and mature, qualities that augur well for the Kingdom’s future. What about Singapore?

Anti-Thaksin campaign: School kids tell PM to step down
The Nation
22 Feb 06

In an unprecedented humiliation for Prime Minister Thaksin, a group of secondary school students held a press conference to demand him to resign on ground that he had done a lot of damages to the country.

Three students from the prestige Triam Udom Suksa School held a seminar at the October 14 Memorial, a symbol of the country’s struggle for democracy, on why Thaksin should leave his post and held a press conference to announce the group’s stand.

The three students are identified as Yos Tansakul, chairman of the group, Sirawut Sitthiwet, deputy chairman, and Phattaranan Limudomporn, spokesman.

Their group is called the Fellowship of Secondary School Students for Democracy.

Phattaranan told the press conference that his group did not make the move in the name of their institution but that they did it on their own.

He said the fellowship had over 100 members from some 30 schools.

The students’ move was seen as a severe setback for Thaksin as it was the first time that a group of secondary school students made a public call for him to resign.

Sirawut said Thaksin had betrayed the people’s trust by merging several parties into the Thai Rak Thai and allowing Thaksin to have absolute control over the country, and in the process abusing the power for his own benefit or the benefit of his group.

He said having absolute control without allowing the opposition to perform the check-and-balance duty was a betrayal to democracy. (emphasis added)

“Although the government has absolute power, the government cannot make decisions on behalf of the people on some issues. We see that the government has no right to take something away from the people by giving something in exchange. So, we cannot trust Thaksin to continue his rule,” Sirawut said.

He said the prime minister had to have ethics and integrity but Thaksin always gave benefits to his associates.

He said Thaksin had promised to tackle corruption but he still had Cabinet members who had been tarnished by corruption scandals.

Yos said if Thaksin refused to resign by February 26, his group would gather signatures of secondary school students to sign an open letter to tell Thaksin to step down.

But the group was immediately downplayed by the Thai Rak Thai.

Thai Rak Thai deputy spokeswoman Supamas Issarapakdee said she had found out from the school that the school had nothing to do with the three students’ move.

Supamas said the three were not activists in the school and had no positions. She believed that they might have been told by some adults to come out to make the call.

“So, we would like to call on politicians not to use kids as political tools,” she said.