THE PRIME minister's secretary general Korbsak Sabhavasu said yesterday he was joking when he said that the gardens at Government House were being re-landscaped to improve feng shui and ensure a second term for Abhisit Vejjajiva.
He also confirmed that the Nong Nooch Garden and Resort were landscaping the gardens for free, and that did not violate any civil-service regulations and was not being done in exchange for any favours.
Korbsak said the area in front of the Thai Kufah and Santi Maitree buildings was being re-landscaped to repair the damage done by the yellow and red-shirt protesters.
Initially, it was estimated that Bt25 million would need to be spent on the landscaping, but the money was kept back for fear it would be wasted if Government House was seized again, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kachornprasart then said someone had offered to do the re-landscaping and that the plan was good because the trees would not block the beautiful buildings, Korbsak said.
Though Korbsak insisted that feng shui did not play a big role in the landscaping, he admitted the company doing the job had brought in a feng shui expert to inspect the site because they insisted it was normal practice.
Reiterating that feng shui had nothing to do with him or the PM, Korbsak said that when being interviewed by Krisana La-lai on the Nation Channel, he had jokingly told the host to ask the feng shui expert for information.
Korbsak added that his only comment about Abhisit's second term was when he said a good atmosphere should help the PM stay on for another four years.
When asked why the Nong Nooch Garden and Resort would do the job for free, he said company executives wanted it done because the site looked rather bad.
He said it was rare to find 80 trees of similar features, but the company had them and was willing to donate.
He confirmed this had nothing to do with future government projects, because there were no plans to open bidding over gardening works.
Though he admitted that he knew the people who ran the company personally, the idea had come from Sanan and that he had already checked all civil service regulations to see if this was a violation.
"The Thai Kufah Building can't run an election campaign so it is allowed a freebie," he joked.
Meanwhile, Sanan said that Nong Nooch Garden's director Kampol Tansajja advised the government to get the place landscaped because it was one of the key sites in the country where important guests were regularly welcomed.
Though the trees would cost about Bt5.9 million, Nong Nooch Gardens would provide them for free.
Sanan said Abhisit had been notified of the project and okayed it, adding that trees were good and would help combat global warming.
When asked about the Democrat Party's feng shui expert saying that palm trees were not auspicious enough to keep this government in power, Sanan said one could not believe everything that is said and that planting trees was a good thing.
Asked if the trees were to prevent bombs, he responded, "they can't prevent bombs".