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Prayut says too many people oppose amending Thailand’s lèse-majesté law

Thai prime minister

Outgoing PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, says too many people, including Thailand’s military and police, are against amending Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Section 112 is otherwise known as the lèse majesté law (which punishes criticism of the Thai monarch or Royal Family).

Prayut was speaking indirectly to Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party, who won the May 14 general election. During campaigning, his party pledged to reform the draconian and controversial law so that it could no longer be used as a political tool.

Move Forward recently signed a memorandum of understanding with 7 other coalition parties but the MoU did not mention amending section 112. According to Pita, the Move Forward Party will seek to reform the law on its own.

However, at a National Defence Council meeting held at the Defence Ministry, Prayut issued a warning that many Thais do not want the law changed.

“It has to be that way. It is in the heart of soldiers, police, civil servants and many people. They don’t agree and they wonder why (Move Forward would amend it).”

The outgoing PM was also critical of Move Forward’s pledge to reduce the size of Thailand’s military and put an end to military conscription.

“To change the armed forces, one must also take the context of Thailand into account. Thailand is not like other nations. It wouldn’t be appropriate to use a model of other countries to reform our military.”

Nation Thailand reports that Prayut has also criticised Pita for approaching government agencies for information while Prayut is still in office. The Move Forward leader has responded to the comments by saying some government agencies have offered him information unprompted.

In response, Prayut says he has raised the matter with a number of agencies, all of which have denied contacting the Move Forward leader or offering him any information.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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