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Thaksin’s hidden deals: myth or reality?

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Hundreds of members of the Thai Patriots Network rally at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok last week opposing the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction to rule on the Thai-Cambodian dispute over the Preah Vihear temple. Photograph: Reuters

Dear Editor,

The ball is definitely in former Thai leader Abhisit Vejjajiva’s court to prove his claim that Thaksin Shinawatra has been the beneficiary of  secret deals with Cambodia before he airs accusations linking Cambodia to Thailand’s internal politics.

In collaboration with the ultra-nationalist People’s Alliance for Democracy and a group called the Thai Patriots Network, Abhisit, head of the opposition Democrat Party, has been seizing any opportunity, no how matter how small, to accuse Thaksin, in particular, of having received hidden individual-interest deals from Cambodia on the maritime overlapping claims area negotiations under the 2001 Cambodian-Thai memorandum of understanding.

Lately, Abhisit and “friends” have even accused Yingluck Shinawatra’s government of selling out disputed territory around the Preah Vihear temple in exchange for individual-interest deals on the overlapping claims area.

This is a reference to Cambodia’s request for the International Court of Justice to interpret its June, 1962 judgment because Thailand refused to recognise Cambodian sovereignty over a 4.6-square-kilometre area adjacent to the temple.

This was a serious accusation internally for Thailand, but it also involved the reputation of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Given that Abhisit is a former Thai prime minister, he should have had full knowledge of the entire overlapping-claims-area dossier and the 2001 memorandum of understanding, whether confidential and not – everything that had been released to the media for him to make the case publicly and widely to the Thai people.

Unless, that is, he had no interest in the dossier, or wasn’t up to the task, or had simply relied on people to brief him (and hide things from him), or had his own hidden agenda.

Instead, Abhisit used it as a tricky political chip to make Cambodia the scapegoat at a time when his own political fortunes were in a downturn.

Motivated by his personal grudge against Prime Minister Hun Sen and his unending enmity towards the people of Cambodia, Abhisit keeps himself busy by erecting obstacles along the road to good relations, despite Hun Sen and Yingluck Shinawatra having done their utmost to mend fences between the two countries.

It was Abhisit’s government that forced Cambodia to request the interpretation of the 1962 International Court of Justice ruling, in an attempt to end once and for all the dispute with Thailand over the 4.6 square kilometres of ground.

From day one, Hun Sen said the Royal Government would abide by the ICJ’s ruling and hoped to achieve a border area of peace, development, friendship and good neighbourliness.

It has been reported that Yingluck is preparing to shoulder Abhisit’s unfriendly policy on peaceful negotiation for the settlement of territorial disputes and put up a good fight at the ICJ —yet Abhisit and friends have the gall to discredit the efforts of the Yingluck government.

Unfortunately for Cambodians and Thais, Abhisit will never change. As long as he remains in politics, he means trouble for everyone.

Thailand has immense resources for Abhisit to put to good use if he makes a serious effort to prove his claim of the deals Thaksin allegedly received from Cambodia — the core of his link between Cambodia and the Thai internal politics.

He should have the courage to bring the so-called bad things about Thaksin into the open for the Thai people to be aware of.

Failing to do so amounts to a vicious fabrication intended to tarnish the reputation of the Royal Government of Cambodia.

Are the hidden individual-interest deals myth or reality? Mr Ahbisit, what are you waiting for?

Professor Pen Ngoeun
Adviser
University of Puthisastra
Phnom Penh

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