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(January 24, 2020) Government's competence in question

It's just about official. Despite having a government, Thailand is rudderless. Approaching six years under more or less junta rule and military influence, irrespective of an election last year, this once up-and-coming country has degenerated into an authoritarian-bureaucratic state that is unsuited and unfit to address public grievances and demands of the 21st century. Yet Thailand's biggest problem is that this government, a motley coalition propped up by a crooked constitution and led by former junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, intends to stay for the long haul despite its growing incompetence. Unless the Thai people's world-famous patience and tolerance are boundless, political tensions will likely mount in the foreseeable future.

While the haze crisis in recent weeks revolving around PM2.5 pollution around the country has dominated news headlines, Thailand's myriad unanswered challenges and sagging and stagnating conditions and prospects have long been evident. Wherever we look, there is a lack of a broader outlook and long-term vision for where Thailand should be heading. Gen Prayut does not lead the government of the day; he is running a "day government", just getting by and surviving through knee-jerk, piecemeal measures on a daily basis.