Survey: Thai army should not be influenced by politics
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Survey: Thai army should not be influenced by politics

By Saksith Saiyasombut

On Sunday the Suan Dusit University released the results of yet another survey, this time under the title of “The army in the public eye” (“ทหาร ในสายตาประชาชน”), which questioned 2,408 people between October 6 – 9. This ties in with the recent promotion of General Prayuth Chan-ocha to commander-in-chief.

Before we take a look at the numbers, I’d advise you to read Bangkok Pundit‘s general disclaimer about opinion polls. Here are some of the most interesting bits:

1.1 The public opinion on the army today towards politics:
/>A. There is political intervention. / The army is being dragged into political matters more. 55,16% (!)
/>B. The army must have a clear stance and show no political ambiguity. 24,33%
/>C. They have a very close relationship to politicians. 20,51%

2. Regarding the most recent bombings, what role in resolving this issue do you want to see the army  in?
/>A. To cooperate with the police in surveillance in order to protect the country from any ill will. 40.48%
/>B. Better surveillance of military weapons. 30.34%
/>C. Better intelligence. 18.11%
/>D. To advice the public about the weapons/explosives and inform how to spot suspicious objects. 11.07%

3. How do you want the military take part in the national reconciliation efforts?
/>A. To be neutral and listen to all sides in order to find a suitable solution. 45.68%
/>B. To clarify and explain the advantages and disadvantages to the public, in order to avoid becoming a tool of an individual or a group. 29.65%
/>C. To resolve and suppress those who have bad intentions towards the country. 14.89% (!)
/>D. The army must show unity in order to be a good role model to society. 9.78%

6. What does the army need to fix the most?
/>A. No interventions by politics. 49.19% (!)
/>B. Neglecting of weapons smuggling. 26.51%
/>C. Abuse of authority. 13.86% (!)
/>D. Bad behaving soldiers. 10.44%

“ทหาร” ในสายตาประชาชน“, Dusit Poll, October 10, 2010

The most puzzling aspect of this survey is the question about the interference of politics in the army (marked with a “!”). Do the results of the survey seriously want to suggest us that there is too much intervention by politics in the military?! 

Saksith Saiyasombut is a Thai blogger and journalist based in Hamburg, Germany. He can be followed on Twitter @Saksith.