He made the remarks at Government House on Wednesday (Apr 12) as he sent a message to the public on the eve of Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year.
He wished everyone a safe journey home, reports the Bangkok Post.
“On your way home, please have sympathy for those officials who are on duty along your routes. They are like the 30,000 to 40,000 soldiers who are holding their positions along the nation’s borders, who are not able to return home,” Gen Prayut said.
“We can live safely because they defend the borders for us. Who are they? They are our children. Some came into the armed forces through conscription before stepping up to be non-commissioned or commissioned officers. Without caring for one another, we cannot have unity. Without unity, the country will not be safe,” he added.
His comments came amid calls by some parties campaigning during the lead-up to the May 14 election to end conscription and replace it with voluntary enlistment.
Prayut said it is necessary for civilians, police and the military to stick together in the interests of national security. “Without soldiers at our borders, we would be facing more problems than we do now,” he added.
As defence minister, Prayut said he would do his best to safeguard the nation regardless of political conflicts.
The government is doing all it can to manage changes in the country and is not just focused on making political gains, he added.
Kurt | 16 April 2023 - 08:27:17