Junta and allies dominate key Thai Cabinet positionsBy Bangkok Pundit Sep 01, 2014 10:00AM UTC
Below is the new Cabinet:
GREEN = Current military, junta, or close to Prayuth; PINK = women.
1. Junta dominance is clear. The junta have 13 Ministers including the PM and control over most of the key positions ranging from PM, Defence, Education, Transport, Interior, Justice, Foreign Affairs and Commerce (only key ones they don’t have are Public Health, Finance, and Agriculture). Essentially, Prayuth and his clique dominate. The Nation:
Prayuth’s former superior General Prawit Wongsuwan was appointed deputy PM and Defence Minister, while another of his ex-superiors, General Anupong Paochinda, was named Interior Minister.
Prawit was chosen because of his connection with Thaksin, which could be fruitful when it comes to efforts to achieve reconciliation, with legal consequences against the fugitive continuing in the normal justice process, the source said.
Four of the premier’s former classmates have portfolios. General Dapong Ratanasuwan was appointed Natural Resources and Environment Minister, General Tanasak Patimapragorn is deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Gen Chatchai Sarikalya was named Commerce Minister, and permanent secretary for defence General Surasak Kanjanarat is the Labour Minister.
Prayuth’s ‘junior’ friends from pre-cadet school days, Navy chief ADM Narong Pipatanasai and Air Force chief ACM Prajin Juntong, were appointed Education Minister and Transport Minister respectively.
The premier’s subordinates from the armed forces who will help him administer the country include deputy Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, the Deputy Defence Minister, and assistant Army chief General Paiboon Koomchaya, the Justice Minister.
General Udomdej, potentially the successor to Prayuth as the Army commander, is expected to utilise his potential to deal with pro-Thaksin military officers who may be “active”.
BP: Seriously, Prawit was chosen as he has connection with Thaksin? He and Anupong were behind the
2. Former bureaucrats to the fore. Below is a summarized translation of Matichon‘s profile of the bureaucrats:
Don Pramudwinai (Deputy Foreign Minister)
Don is 64. Has degrees from UCLA and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He was a career civil servant with the Foreign Ministry. His final posting was as Thai Ambassador to the UN.
ML Panadda Diskul (PM’s Office)
He is 58. He graduated from Brigham Young University [Mormon??] and first worked as a lecturer at the military academy. Then, later for Interior Ministry. He has been deputy governor of 3 provinces, governor of Nakon Pathom and Chiang Mai, and the Permanent Secretary of Interior. Then, in 2014, he was appointed, Permanent Secretary of the PM’s Office
Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana (PM’s Office)
He is 60. He worked for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). He has worked in Australia [understand this refers to declared liaison position at the Thai Embassy] and has also been based in the 3 southern border provinces and rose to be the Director.
Suthi Makboon (Deputy Interior)
He is 64 years old. Became a civil servant in 1974. Served in many positions in the Interior Ministry. Deputy Governor in 4 provinces. Governor in 3 provinces. Last position was Deputy Permanent Secretary of Interior.
Apiradee Tantraporn (Deputy Commerce)
She is a graduate of Syracuse University. She is a former civil servant for the Commerce Ministry. Previous positions include Ambassador for Thailand at WTO in Geneva and other senior positions in the Ministry.
Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj (Science Minister)
He is 59 years old. Has a doctorate from Wharton. Has held various positions in government organizations (science-related) and academia.
Akom Termpitayapaisit (Deputy Transport Minister)
He is 58 years old. He has a Masters from Williams College. Formerly assistant to the Secretary-General of NESDB and then rose to be Secretary-General of NESDB.
Dr. Krissanapong Kiratikorn (Deputy Education Minister)
He is 67 years old. Former civil servant in Education Ministry.
Dr. Rajata Rajatanavin (Public Health Minister)
He is 64 years old. Formerly worked on pharmaceutical boards in Public Health Ministry, President of Mahidol University and President of Council of University Presidents
Somsak Chunharas (Deputy Public Health Minister)
He is 61 years old. Has a degree from Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam. Became a civil servant in Public Health Ministry in 1983. Before his appointment, he was secretary-general of the National Health Foundation.
Sommai Phasee (Finance Minister)
He is 70 years old. Graduate of Vanderbilt University. Has previously been civil servant in Finance Ministry. Rose to be Deputy Permanent Secretary. Was Deputy Finance Minister in Surayud government., but lost his position due to jail sentence of 2 years (suspended sentence) although won his case on appeal.
Pornchai Rujiprapa (Information and Communication Technology Minister)
He has a doctorate from University of Pennsylvania. He has worked in energy sector on the government side, but also for PTT.
Peetipong Phuengbun na Ayutthaya (Agriculture Minister)
He is 67 years old. Has a Masters from California State University. He has worked for many government entities and was Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Ministry and then Permanent Serectary of Natural Resources and Environment.
Chakramon Phasukvanich (Industry Minister)
He is 66 years old. A graduate of California State University. A former civil servant who rose to be Permanent Secretary of the Industry Ministry.
Veera Rojpojanarat (Culture Minister)
He is 63 years old. A Masters from Thammasat. A former civil servant who rose to be Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture.
BP: You will notice that for Education, Interior, Foreign Affairs, Transport and Commerce that the junta control the main minister position, but a current/former civil servant is the deputy.
3. Others (also from the Matichon profile)
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (Tourism and Sports Minister)
She is 54 years old. She has a degree from Rhode Island School of Design. She was Chairperson of Toshiba Thailand.
Narongchai Akrasanee (Energy Minister)
He is 69 years old. Has a doctorate from Johns Hopkins. Has previously been a Commerce Minister and Senator.
Wissanu Krea-Ngam (Deputy Prime Minister)
Wissanu is 63. He has a Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) UC Berkeley. He is a Secretary-General of the Cabinet under Thaksin, but was NLA member and Constitutional Drafter of the 2007 Constitution .
MR Pridiyathorn Devakula (Deputy Prime Minister)
He is 67. A Wharton graduate. He worked for Kasikorn Bank, was spokesperson for PM’s Office under Chatchai, Deputy Minister of Commerce under the Anand and Suchina governments, BOT Governor under Thaksin, and Finance Minister in Surayud government.
Yongyut Yuttawong (Deputy Prime Minister)
He is 70. Oxford graduate who won scientist awards. He was Science Minister under Surayud.
BP: Very few people from the business world. We are mostly looking at 60+ (age) current and former bureaucrats and those who have been in the sphere of the bureaucracy and periphery of politics. It is quite one-dimensional although on the surface will be popular, but the bigger question is do they have enough practical experience or knowledge of what is happening on the ground in Thailand.
btw, Saksith’s take on the Cabinet is here.