Thai PM apologises for his latest outburst

Thai PM apologises for his latest outburst
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday apologised for losing his temper in public and scolding journalists, spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said, adding the premier was under pressure as if he was left to walk alone.

"The prime minister asked me to convey to media and people that he regretted his outburst on Tuesday," he said.

He was also worried [about public sentiment], but we also should understand that he is working under pressure due to high expectations of the people."

Asked why Prayut had not apologised to the public personally, Sansern said the premier was busy and he needed more time to think about the matter.

Reporters at Government House said Prayut remained in his office the whole day and allowed only Army chief Theerachai Nakvanich to meet him yesterday.

Although Prayut has tended to lose his temper in public while giving press interviews, Tuesday's outburst exceeded his previous bouts of anger.

One of the prime minister's New Year resolutions was to try to be a "good guy" at least in the eyes of the mass media by avoiding hot-tempered exchange of words with critical reporters.

That resolution seems to have been broken when Prayut was furious when asked about the draft charter and election road map issues.

During the February 2 encounter, Prayut was visiting a number of booths at Government House highlighting innovative creations from various government units before the weekly Cabinet meeting.

He was apparently not in a good mood as observed by some Government House reporters.

While responding to a question/answer session following the Cabinet meeting in the afternoon, Prayut lashed out after hearing a comment by Meechai Ruchupan, chairman of the charter drafting commission, who said if the new charter did not pass in the referendum, the country might have to use a much tougher version of the highest law.

The premier was also upset about a question on whether the new constitution court would have too much power.

He banged on his podium twice to the surprise of many reporters.

He also complained that his government had been working hard over the past two years but the media still do not trust his sincerity.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's Office has begun restructuring its publicity strategy by stressing proactive methods and opting for more online and social media channels to reach the masses.

The restructuring project is called the "State's PR is Sincere and Determined to Dispel Public Problems and Boost Wellbeing".

PM's Office Minister Panadda Diskul has instructed the government's PR Department and the Office of the PM's Permanent Secretary to have all state PR agencies change their approach.

The PR offices are required to analyse the social, economic and political situation regularly and use this analysis to help ward off problems in according with government instructions.

The PR offices must redefine their strategy so as to project a good image of state agencies and the country, as well as improve or develop websites and publicise their work on Facebook and other social media outlets.

They are also required to have information ready to provide to the public or those interested in the work of the agencies.

Under the guidelines, the offices are also required to monitor and evaluate daily news related to their agencies and provide reports to their superiors.

They must also deal with negative publicity via an integrated system to minimise the damage.

People can visit new websites, such as govchannel.go.th, to access information on state agencies, while an application detailing government services called GAC can be downloaded via iTunes or the Android app store.

Other gadgets are also available via the government kiosk. A video clip providing more information can be watched at https://youtu.be/7lLIndArZ60.

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