Thailand 'studying, not copying ideas'

Thailand 'studying, not copying ideas'
Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn.

National Legislative Assembly chief Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said yesterday that political ideas and systems from other countries were being studied by the NLA, but he stressed that they could not be copied and implemented because of their different historical and cultural contexts.

Pornpetch was speaking at the "On the Path to Reform" seminar organised by the Foreign Ministry.

"When we open up to international knowledge, it doesn't mean we have to copy all their ideas. We have to consider and anticipate what would happen if certain ideas were implemented in our country and make adjustments," he said.

He also dismissed as rumour that the country was looking to use a German or British parliamentary or electoral systems in Thailand, saying the NLA only studied them to understand the underlying ideologies.

He said this seminar was an international event, with international participants who had come to exchange ideas and give lectures on political topics.

The Foreign Ministry and the Parliament Secretariat organised the forum with the aim to benefit from lessons other nations learned.

Foreign Minister Tanasak Patimapragorn claimed the participation of academics and experts from several countries - and especially Martin Chungong, secretary-general of the Inter-Parliamentary Union - demonstrated international support for this administration in pulling the country through reforms.

The seminar was attended by representatives of the NLA, the National Reform Council (NRC), government agencies, academic institutions, and members of the diplomatic corps, as well as international organisations.

The day-long seminar was split in three sessions - political reform, public administration and local government.

In his opening speech, Chungong said this current reform period was "indeed crucial" for Thailand - a time it needed to reflect and learn from experience and identify good practices.

"Reform is difficult. It is not just about changing institutions and law, but also changing the mentality as to how we live together with respect."

He then reminded the government that "the key factor in developing strong institutions is political will, so the people are counting on you to do this".

However, he also emphasised the need for public participation.

"Freedom of expression and freedom to organise political activity are part of the fundamentals in creating democracy. People need to have a say in how they want the country to run."

He also urged that people needed to change their approach to their political adversaries. "Politics based on hatred cannot provide solutions."

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