The King is not rich

On 23 Feb, Dr Sumet Tantivejkul, Secretary-general of the Chaipattana Foundation, was interviewed by Matichon about a report on the Canadian news website the Vancouver Sun which has the King of Thailand on top of its list of the 10 richest world leaders.

He questioned the motive of ‘those who spread the news’ and the media. 

He said that if this was reported ingenuously, there would be no problem. 

‘Don’t think that farangs are always smart.  Many farangs are stupid.  I graduated from abroad and I’m also stupid.  What is the Crown Property Bureau?  If you want to know whether HM is really rich or not, you have to look at his private property. That really belongs to him.  […]  But this has all been mixed up,’ he said.

‘Crown property means that it belongs to the state.  But when farangs see the emblem [of the CPB], oh! this must belong to the King.  In fact, the Ministry of Finance is in charge. The chair of the CPB is the Minister of Finance.  It’s not part of HM’s property.  It belongs to the institution.  It has a board,’ he said.

‘Is this an exaggeration?  The news spread.  Many people get excited, talking and writing all kinds of stuff, [although they] know what is what.  Go and look at HM’s residence.  Don’t talk about foreign billionaires; even billionaires in Thailand are far richer than him.  So how can they say he is the world’s richest?  Insane,’ he said.

As he has worked for the King, he has seen that the King has been extremely scrupulous about his spending.  And when talking about making economies, people always think and talk about HM.

‘Look how he lives.  HM lives in a small palace, and is frugal.  He has been the example of sufficiency,’ he said.

Asked what he thought about the increasingly open talk and criticism of the monarchy in public today, including in particular the online social networking websites, he said, ‘that lot don’t have identities, do they? They like cursing anybody they choose.  So [they] can say anything in the online world.  If we take them seriously, it messes up our brain.’

He said that he last visited the King two months ago.  HM was happy, but he might have some problems with his back which prevent him from walking normally.  However, HM is still relentlessly attentive to his work on the weather, soil, water and the well-being of the people.



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