Thailand’s protesters is subverting democracy

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the group leading the anti-government (or rather, anti-Thaksin) protests in Thailand, is probably Southeast Asia’s biggest misnomer. Instead of promoting democracy, as their name suggests, they are subverting the democratic institutions in Thailand.

After more than 6 months of continuous street protest, the situation has taken a sharp turn for the worse, with PAD members and supporters storming and occupying not just the prime minister’s office, but both airports in Bangkok, crippling the country’s vital tourism industry.

Despite their claim to democracy, I see nothing democratic about the PAD. Not only did they support the military coup, which in itself is the worst possible subversion of democracy, but they openly advocated reducing the number of elected members of parliament and replacing them with appointed representatives from the among the country’s elite.

According to Wikipedia, the PAD consists of middle and upper-class Bangkokians and Southerners, supported by the conservative elite and factions of the Thai Army, some members of the opposition Democrat Party, and leaders of state-enterprise labour unions. Its founder, Sondhi Limthongkul, is a super rich media mogul.

I have always wondered who is financing those thousands of protesters. Don’t they have jobs of their own? Obviously not. My only conclusion is that they are being paid by the rich elite PAD leaders and backers to wreck this chaos on their own country — all to achieve the PAD leaders’ self-serving ends.

I don’t claim to be an expert in Thai politics, and I am also aware of some of former PM Thaksin’s shortcomings. I also support peaceful democratic expression, but these last 6 months of street protests and violence have proven that the PAD is out of touch with the needs of ordinary Thais, and have dumped their consciences for selfish gain.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

4 thoughts on “Thailand’s protesters is subverting democracy”

  1. Hi Gerald,

    Given the motivation and set up of Wikipedia, it is one of the last sources I would CITE. I may refer to Wikipedia for a quick reference but will never CITE or QUOTE from it if I want to put together a convincing argument. In fact, I usually depend refer to more formal publications before forming an opinion or making a conclusion.

    The references in Wikipedia, on the other hand, often lead to scholarly publications or books published by reputable publishers. These references are immensely useful.

    An Old Friend

  2. Old Friend – Your suggestion is noted with thanks.

    In this case I quoted from Wikipedia because their description of the make-up of the PAD seemed consistent with what I read elsewhere. Perhaps what was missing was that I believe many academics are supporters of the PAD’s causes.

    Btw, it’s interesting that the Straits Times wrote an editorial similarly criticizing the PAD.

    The paper wrote:
    “The PAD can register itself as a party and try to win office legally, but it must abandon its laughable proposition that only one-third of parliament shall be elected and two-thirds appointed. Class-based representation is the road to perdition.

    Isn’t it amazing how insightful and spot on they are about foreign politics, compared to local politics?

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