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The Thai Liberal Party leader shares his vision of reforming the military by moving all troops out of Bangkok and instead using the space to build schools, hospitals and parks while abolishing unnecessary military units.
On 9 March, Pol Gen Seripisut Temiyawet, head of the Thai Liberal Party and former national police commander, announced through his Facebook page ‘Police General Seripisut Temiyawet’ his vision of reforming the Royal Thai Army. “If I had the power, I would move the entire military out of Bangkok,” he said in the posted video.
“Who are they are going to contact? Where are they going to contact the people? I’d like to know. They get in the way and block traffic, right? There’s a lot of space in the rest of the country. The army should go to Lopburi; the navy should go to Sattahip and the air force to Nakhon Sawan. Give the space back to Bangkokians to build necessary things like schools, hospitals, and parks,” said Pol Gen Seripisut.
State funds need not be used for this move, Pol Gen Seripisut said. For one thing, it will allow the private sector the space, like Central rents from the State Railway or Beer Chang rents the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. Military land, which there is lots of in Bangkok, can be rented. This money can then be invested in building parks, building schools, hospitals. Who says the military needs to be in Bangkok? The police need to be in Bangkok. Other ministries need to be there as well.
“If soldiers are in Bangkok and a fight starts in the capital, and someone presses a button, whose head will go boom? It will land on the people’s heads, right? It might just land on your home instead of a military base. So wouldn’t it be better to move them out first?”
“The 11th Infantry has 3 thousand rai in Bang Khen. They’re living there like gods. Even retired officers refuse to move out. All the Army commanders-in-chief go and live there in state housing using state water and state electricity with soldier-servants at their beck and call. Unlike me. I’m retired; when I was a government official, I always lived in my own house,” the former police commander said. Seripisut also said that the Ministry of Defence is part of the central government. But the Army is a different thing. So the Army must move out.

Abolishing unnecessary units

Regarding other military reforms, Pol Gen Seripisut said that there were very many units. “The question is why there is a Supreme Command. Who will it fight? Three branches of the armed forces are enough. To look after these three branches, there is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry who already does this. Or a Supreme Commander can be established in wartime.
“The army also has four army areas. Why are there more brigades with lieutenant generals, major generals, and corps deputy commanders. There are many more forces. “Why? Who are we going to war with? At a time when there is no war, they must be abolished, because if the police or civilian units have no work, they are abolished. But here, they have no work, but they create even more units.
“Why did so many military experts and specialists create these units? To get higher ranks and salaries? After they are created, they have no space to work. After they are created, they have to go back and live at home. In one month, how much taxpayer money do they waste on their salaries?”
Nevertheless, regarding the military bases that he proposes should be moved out of Bangkok, Pol. Gen. Seripisut also said on Facebook that just the King’s Guard should stay.
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