In a wide-ranging interview with The Phuket News this morning, Paiboon Upatising, Chief Executive of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (OrBorJor), said, “If the military has the power, they should do it [clear the beaches], to make sure everything is on the right track.”
He added, “They have to do it all over Thailand, not only Phuket; Pattaya, Koh Chang [and others] also have [the same problem]. If the central government has the power and they do it right, people will be afraid [to encroach on public land].
“Now you see Thailand becoming more clear than before. I think it will be better.”
Asked whether the current military-led drive against corruption would go high enough up the various ministries involved to make a real difference, he said, “I think so. They are trying to get rid of this. That is why they took over from the Thaksin/Yingluck government, because of the corruption.
“People agree, and applaud them because they want to get rid of corruption.”
Asked whether the cleaning-up of corruption would have permanent results or whether corruption will creep back in with the return of democracy, he said, “I think this year [with the military still in total control] will be better than before. After that we have to look at the new constitution.
“I think they [the Army] are trying to get rid of politicians who use their power for corrupt reasons. I think you will see that more clearly than before.”
Mr Paiboon said he believed one aim of the Army will be to rid Thai politics of cynically populist projects such as the failed rice pledging scheme.
He also appeared amused by the current predicament of some senior non-elected government officials. “The heads of departments don’t know where they are going [to be sent] in the afternoon or the evening because the military could move them [at any time]. They are all tightly gripping the arms of their [office] chairs.”