Saturday, August 7, 2010

Panitan says he hasn't been told there is a new govt spokesman

Panitan Watanayakorn tells us he has not been told by PM Abhisit or FM Kasit Pirom that he will be moved to the post of "assistant minister" at the Foreign Ministry.

Of course, he must also be surprised by news that he won't be the government spokesman anymore. The new man, according to a widely-circulated report, is Thanawat Polvichai, dean of the economics faculty of Thai Chamber of Commerce University.

Whether Panitan is relieved in leaving the post having to deal with media or not isn't clear but he has always been quoted as saying that it is just a "provisional posting" and that he would welcome a full-time replacement.

Now, if Panitan is made "assistant minister" at the Foreign Ministry,he will replace Panich Vikitset who was elected recently as the new MP for Bangkok's Constituency 6.

Panitan has been criticized by some Democrats as being "too soft" in his posturing as government spokesman. He himself has always insisted that he isn't the kind of "ferocious mouthpiece" of the government. That attack-dog's tactics could be better handled by the Democrat Party's own spokesmen.

Speculation was rife recently that he might be replaced by Apirak Kosayothin, former Bangkok governor, who was said to be more comfortable as one of the PM's advisers.

Thanawat is a familiar figure among the local media. He has been expressing his views on a number of economic issues. He also serves as a news anchor giving background analyses on current economic stories.

Now, he will have to show that he can handle political issues with equal speed and efficiency.

If Panitan wants to know what's really happening, all he has to do is to whisper into the PM's ear: "Is that true, sir?"