Thawil vows to be politically neutral when regaining National Security Council post

Thawil Pliensri has said he will carry out his duty with strict political neutrality and not work to the advantage of any political camp after the Supreme Administrative Court ruling that the caretaker government must reinstate him to the post of secretary-general of the National Security Council.

The court ruled on March 7 that caretaker Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's order to transfer Thawil out of his post in 2011 was unlawful and ordered that she reinstate him within 45 days.

Though Thawil admitted he would feel uncomfortable working with a political camp with which he personally has different views, he said he was not confused by his two roles - one as common citizen entitled to his own opinions and freedom of expression, and the other as a state official who has to maintain political neutrality.

"I know as NSC chief I must not work to the advantage of political parties. But if my work benefits the government or the opposition in some way then I cannot help,'' he said.

As a citizen, Thawil has made his political stance crystal clear by challenging the government and taking to the rally stage of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee.

The first sign of conflict between the government and Thawil took place last week when acting Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said he did not trust Thawil enough to allow him to serve on the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

The government has instead picked Department of Special Investigation director-general Tarit Pengdith to replace incumbent NSC chief Paradorn Pattanatabut on the CAPO.

Paradorn is expected to be made an adviser to the prime minister after Thawil is reinstated.

There have been reports that the Cabinet will discuss Thawil's reinstatement on Tuesday.

Thawil said he is ready to resume his duties and solve national security problems from the southern separatists to lese majeste offences, human trafficking, drugs and border conflicts.

Asked how is he going to deal with security issues relating to anti-government protesters, Thawil said the responsibility for maintaining security for the protesters rests with the government.

"The government has two statuses, one status is being in the opposite political camp with the protesters, the other status is to keep peace and security. When there is a violent incident, the government may personally feel vindicated, but as a government, it means the government failed to maintain public safety,'' he said.