The Thai authorities have drafted a master plan to promote ‘morality’ based on sufficiency, honesty, and responsibility as a national programme.
According to Daily News, Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn, Deputy Prime Minister and head of the National Committee to Promote Morality established under the Ministry of Culture, on Monday, 2 November 2015, revealed that the Committee approved a master plan to promote morality as a national programme at its first meeting.
The first draft of the plan for 2016-2020 was proposed by Department of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.
According to the draft, the prime objectives of the plan are to ‘uplift people’s morality’ and encourage every sector of society to promote ‘national morality’.
The draft defines sufficiency, honesty, and responsibility as a shared set of ‘national moral values’, stating that the values will bring peace, harmony, and happiness to the nation and that Thailand will become a leading country on morality in the ASEAN region and in the world.
Thanasak said that the National Committee to Promote Morality has also established two subcommittees to enact the plan, one to draft and evaluate plans to promote national morality and one to monitor the promotion of ‘national moral values’.
He added that centres to promote morality will also be established to implement the plan.
Earlier this year, the former Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) announced plans to create a ‘National Virtue Assembly’, a supra-governmental body which could judge the moral or ethical standards of public officials.
The idea of the Virtue Assembly has not yet been finalized, but according to the latest reports, its members will be able to vote whether to initiate a moral inquisition of politicians and public officials deemed immoral.
If it finds elected politicians and holders of political posts or local administrators guilty of violating its moral codes, the committee can call for a public referendum to be held in general elections and allow voters to decide if they want to impeach any officials it identifies.
In the aftermath of the 2014 coup d’état, the Thai junta set out 12 controversial Thai Values, which the regime is promoting, especially among the nation’s youth.
The 12 Thai Values of the junta are:
· Love for the nation, religions and monarchy
· Honesty, patience and good intentions for the public
· Gratitude to parents, guardians and teachers
· Perseverance in learning
· Conservation of Thai culture
· Morality and sharing with others
· Correct understanding of democracy with the monarch as head of the state
· Discipline and respect for the law and elders
· Awareness in thinking and doing things, and following the guidance of His Majesty the King
· Living by the sufficiency economy philosophy guided by His Majesty the King
· Physical and mental strength against greed
· Concern about the public and national good more than self-interest.
Many academics and activists have criticised the 12 values as the junta’s attempt to promote nationalistic sentiments in order to legitimise military rule.