Sunday, April 7, 2013

Southerners ask: Where is Chalerm?

Chalerm Yoobamrung is deputy premier in charge of security affairs, including the Deep South. But he hasn't visited the area in any serious way since taking office. Instead, he has flown to Kuala Lumpur to hold talks with Malaysian authorities but hasn't really sat down with local officials and residents to show his personal concern for the deteriorating situation down there.
The day after the deputy governor and assistant governor of Yala were killed in a bomb attack earlier this week, reporters asked Premier Yingluck why Chalerm hadn't flown South to show the government's concern.
The premier was obviously caught off-guard. She said something about Chalerm's imminent visit there but also defended his reluctance to be personally meeting local people in the three southern provinces. "Sometimes, our puuyais (senior authorities) from Bangkok don't want to disturb the local officials by visiting since they would have to provide security measures and other conveniences which could distract their normal duties," she said.
That, of course, still doesn't explain why Chalerm hasn't been down there. First, he said he would be in the South after the Bangkok governor election.Then, his excuse was that he would wait until the House session on constitutonal changes was done. But he flew North instead, under the pretext that he was observing the smog situation up there -- an issue not related to his job description.
The deputy premier has always said he is no coward and would be ready to face any seriousl challenge anywhere, anytime.
It's time to show it where he is needed most.

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