Vasit on NitiratSubmitted by prachatai on Sun, 15/01/2012 - 16:00
Considering its public statements, it seems that the Nitirat group has called for amendments to Article 112 of the Criminal Code in order that those who ‘criticize the monarchy in good faith’ are exempted from or given lighter punishments, but this is not all that what they want, said Pol Gen Vasit Dejkunjorn in his Matichon column published on 10 Jan.
In Nitirat’s document No 33, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul has made a further demand that the King, whom ‘he calls Kasat’ [instead of Phra Maha Kasat or the Great King or His Majesty the King], take an oath to protect the constitution, Vasit said.
This shows that the Nitirat’s real goal is to ‘control the conduct of His Majesty the King’, he said.
As Article 112 is placed in a section concerning offences against national security, it clearly means that offences against His Majesty the King are against the security of the kingdom, he said.
‘This spirit of the law has its origin in Thai history. I have no idea how much basic knowledge they [Piyabutr and others] had of Thai history before they received degrees from abroad. But even elementary school children know that our Thailand has been ruled by kings since ancient times, at least since Sukhothai, until today for over 700 years. The current Chakri dynasty, in particular, has lasted over 200 years. Of course, kings and dynasties have been changed all along, but what has remained and been respected since our grandparents is His Majesty the King,’ Vasit said.
When the Absolute Monarchy was overthrown in 1932, those who seized power were aware of the importance of the monarchy, and maintained the institution. So we have had the Constitutional Monarchy until today.
Every constitution limits royal power and clearly states what power His Majesty the King has. But it should be known and borne in mind that His Majesty the King has never had a hand in writing any of those constitutions, only giving advice when asked by those who wrote them.
‘So, regarding Nitirat’s idea to have His Majesty the King take an oath to protect the constitution, I have no idea why HM should do this, and how, and when, and to whom, whereas every constitution is written by other people and then presented to him to be signed,’ he said.
‘Nitirat probably don’t know that since Sukhothai, when a king ascended to the throne, there was an important royal ceremony called a coronation. This important ceremony in the current reign was held on 5 May 1956. On that day, His Majesty the King ascended to the throne under the royal white tiered umbrella amidst a gathering of dignitaries including parliamentarians, the Senate Speaker and House Speaker, and announced ‘I shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people’, and he then poured water to take an oath to rule the kingdom with Thotsapitrajdham, or the ten Buddhist virtues of kingship,’ he said.
For a Thai like Vasit, His Majesty the King’s initial speech is a pledge to all Thais and is far more meaningful than any futile vows or promises which all politicians have to make when coming into office.
To have no appreciation of a form of government with a constitutional monarchy is an individual’s right and there has always been this kind of view. Even today there are still some people who do not want any kind of government at all, which is anarchy. However, in a real democracy, one must always heed the rights of others who like different kinds of government, he said.
‘Those who call themselves Nitirat may want to change the law so that they or others can criticize His Majesty the King, but they should think about other Thais including me who have grown up and [are old enough to] have seen His Majesty’s influence as a result of the toil and sacrifice of his royal heart and body. That’s why we respect and worship him, even if this is not written in a constitution or elsewhere. We do not want to see any acts or hear any words which are deemed offensive, whatever rights and freedoms anyone might claim,’ he said.
‘Particularly acts in an attempt to keep His Majesty under control like the taking of an oath, Thais like myself cannot tolerate and can never let happen,’ he said.