Former Thai PM vows to be back for birthday

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra told his red-shirt supporters yesterday that he would return to Thailand in the next three or four months.

Thaksin, who has been in self-exile overseas, did not specify the exact date but he had said earlier that his supporters were preparing for his return as "a birthday present". His birthday is on July 26.

"This year's Songkran is a good sign that we will be happy together again. I will certainly come back in the next three or four months," Thaksin said. "All the Thais will be happy. From now on, there will be no yellow shirts and red shirts. Thai people will make up their differences. I can't help people who don't want to reconcile," he said, in a probable reference to opponents of the government's "rushed reconciliation" moves.

He was addressing a group of red shirts, mostly from the Northeast, at a hotel in Laos' southern province of Champasak.

Thaksin also claimed credit for selecting his sister Yingluck Shinawatra as a prime-ministerial candidate. "Although I was overseas, I helped you appoint a prime minister. I chose my younger sister as PM candidate because I thought she could do the job," he said.

"I believe Prime Minister Yingluck will complete her [four-year] term in office," said Thaksin, who political observers believe is pulling strings behind her government.

He also said that the government was implementing many projects to help prop up prices of farm produce, help poor people and farmers with their debts, and build motorways and high-speed rail routes.

Earlier yesterday in Vientiane, Thaksin praised Yingluck for avoiding his errors by refraining from countering political attacks. He said it was the right strategy for her while serving as the government head.

"It is best not to counterattack. She is doing better than I did. I can't compare to her in this regard. The PM is patient, and she does not counter anyone. She is just doing her job. That's the right thing to do. I did it wrong and she should not copy me," he said.

Thaksin also praised Privy Council President General Prem Tinsulanonda, who is regarded by many of Thaksin's supporters as his arch-rival. "In fact, Pa Prem is a senior figure I respect and admire," he said of the 91-year-old elder statesman.

Thaksin called on Thais to unite for the betterment of the country.

"Songkran should serve as a good beginning for the Thais throughout the country to love one another. We will do it for our King, for our country to get stronger, and for every one of us to be happy," Thaksin said.

The Thai ambassador to Laos, Witthawat Sriwihok, said Thaksin could travel to Laos because of his good personal ties with many high-ranking officials in the Laotian government.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 30 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 3 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging 4 hours ago
    Audi TT Offroad concept debuts as a 124-mpg hybrid with wireless charging

    The TT. Audi's diminutive sports car. Since production began in 1998, the two-door coupe has aged with the pugnacity of a grizzled New Yorker, but not in size. And why would it, as the arrival of the TT RS proved, adding some grit makes for a rather captivating dish. And so you'll excuse us for being puzzled by the Audi TT Offroad concept.

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.