Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday attempted to allay fears that a proposed reform steering assembly under a new constitution may interfere with the work of the next elected government.
He said the new body would be established to carry on the work of the now-defunct National Reform Council.
"It will be responsible for the reform work and will not interfere in the elected government's work. I understand people's fear about the new assembly overshadowing the elected government's power. I never had such an intention when I thought about forming this body," Prayut said.
"You need to trust me. We need to trust each other. You and I understand well what kind of problem the country faces," he added during his weekly TV address, "Returning Happiness to People in the Country", last night.
The prime minister said that this was a "pivotal time" for Thailand. "It's time we cure all diseases and build immunity that protects us from all bad things and prevents them from reoccurring. We will make our country strong and rich," he said.
He blamed unnamed political leaders for the country's problems, saying that their abuse of power and betrayal of the voters' trust led to dissatisfaction and conflict.
"They should use the power according to the intentions of people who voted for them. The people trust them to run the country and bring an improved standard of living to the people," he said.
"If the government uses its power in the wrong way, the act should be considered treason. It is betrayal of the people's trust. These bad individuals never want to take responsibility for their actions and they never truly want to commit to the people."
Prayut also promised that his government and the National Council for Peace and Order would adhere to the reform road map.
He said that in the second phase of the road map, between September and July 2017, there would be the restructuring of public affairs including the administration, reform and reconciliation.
"This is overseen by the NCPO and focused on national security and orderliness of the nation. It involves taking care of the poor and low-income earners and having measures to promote justice and transparency," he said.
Prayut said that as the NCPO head, he had invoked ultimate power under Article 44 of the post-coup interim charter in 27 cases in a bid to solve the country's problems.
Military to monitor seminar
"The power was used in the most constructive and transparent manner, given that there are committees overseeing the use of this power while the operations proceeded strictly according to set regulations," he said.
"I can assure you that the NCPO and the current government have a purpose, determination, and sincerity towards the people and the nation. We are not here for personal benefits," he said.
In a separate development, Army commander-in-chief General Udomdej Sitabutr yesterday said the military would monitor a seminar to be held by the New Democracy Movement (NDM) to mark the ninth anniversary of the 2006 coup today.
He has ordered the First Area Army's Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC) to take care of the job.
Prayut said yesterday that no such event would be allowed.
Udomdej, who is also deputy defence minister, explained that the military was monitoring relevant activities although they would not get involved with any activity deemed not to affect peace and order.
He said that First Army Area commander Lt-General Kampanat Ruddit, the POMC director, would meet with relevant agencies to assess the activity so that it would be held under rules and regulations and order could be maintained.
He insisted that the NCPO needed to keep peace and order hence it could not okay every request. That would create bad influences, causing further complications.
He asked that activists staging activities refrain from affecting peace and order.
A source said organisers of planned activities must seek prior permission from the military.
An activity cannot be held unless the military allows it, the source said.
Rangsiman Rome, a key NDM member, said he had put a request to the NCPO but not got a reply.