CNN : Samak Sundaravej & Bloodshed during a coup 6:42
BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Thailand's new Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is the first to be democratically elected since the nation's bloodless coup in 2006. A veteran politician and former governor of Bangkok, Samak is accused of being a nominee of friend and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. As he prepares to take office, he joins Talk Asia's Dan Rivers to discuss his allegiance to his ousted predecessor, corruption, and his alleged role in the Thammasat massacre of 1976.
Al Jazeera English - Programmes - Thailand's New Pm: Samak Sundaravej
After 16 months of military government, Thailand has a new and democratically elected prime minister.
Samak Sundaravej is a protégé of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former exiled prime minister, and a polarising figure in Thai politics.
Samak heads a six-party coalition. How will he hold the government together and address the grave problems facing the country, including the return of Thaksin to face charges for alleged graft.
Leaders of Thailand's People Alliance for Democracy have issued a stern warning, saying they would bring protesters back onto the streets, if the government tried to whitewash the Thaksin issue and install him in power once again.
101 East - Thailand's new Prime Minister -09 Feb 08 - Part 1
101 East - Thailand's new Prime Minister -09 Feb 08 - Part 2
SD : Your predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, was criticised for a pretty brutal campaign against Muslim fighters in southern Thailand. Many people who were innocent were caught up in that violence. Do you support his policies in southern Thailand?
SS : Actually, he doesnt mention any policy. The wrong that he committed, somebody says that ahh he says that it ahh its not quite so important mandate, and thats all. That is what he mentioned.
SD : But if we refer to Tak Bai, the Tak Bai incident, when many young Muslim men were beaten and rounded up and their bodies were stacked into trucks, many of them suffocated and died
SS : Where?
SD : At Tak Bai.
SS : Tak Bai? Ohh You have heard about that incident? Did you?
SD : Of course, weve seen the footage.
SS : Ahh. Theres a group of them make a violence there in the south. Thirty-two of them. And they fled to live in the mosque. And then the military asked them to come out. They doesnt come out. So the military must get in. So the mosque is a clean place, that the dirty man, any kind of weapon, cannot get in. But they just going there, so they just killing from outside. So 32 of them die. And then that is in the Krue Se. And in Tak Bai they just come to make a shouting. To make a shouting and then any kind of thing to bring six people out from jail. So the whole day, this is the time of the, they dont eat anything, they dont eat in the daytime. So, thousands of them just going there around the police station and something like that. So they end up with the they say that, ok, well let them have the preparation to bring them back, the six people, but they dont, they, in the evening time, so they make a roundup (cough) for all those people and put in the truck.
SD : Many of the families would suggest that there were very innocent people rounded up there amongst the
SS : Aww, the innocent people. When that type of movement, around that thing, is innocent or not, I have no idea, but those people going fled in the truck, if they strong enough when they standing in the truck, its ok. But they spent the whole day, doesnt eat, doesnt drink water, doesnt even swallow any kind of thing, because in the month of that thing, so, they just fall on each other. And 78 die, from so many truck, loading, running by [?] So thats it. Its a tragedy. It happened. Nobody intend to kill them. They die because of their physical. But they has been caught just to get into the barrack. So, so whats wrong with that? Whats wrong with that? What is the execution of that? What is it?
SD : What is wrong with innocent people dying?
SS : What is the incident that had happened? Everybody in the country know what had happened. And seventy they fall down on each other. And then 78 died.
SD : So youre saying they died because they fell on top of each other?
SS : Yes. Nobody kill them. Everybody knows it was
SD : Not because they were packed into trucks without enough air?
SS : When people get in the truck, in the good shape, and running, actually nobody think they will be like that, but if they people happen not to eat, not to drink, not to swallow, and then somebody fall down the other on the top So 78 died, out of 1300.
SD : Ok. Id like to go back to 1976 and the Thammasat University protests, where hundreds of students were beaten, shot, lynched and burned. Historians
SS : Yeah, where did you get that report?
SD : Historians suggest that you on your radio programme urged mobs of people to turn out and attack the students
SS : How old are you at that time?
SS : How old are you?
SD : Let me refer to
SS : Do you born yet?
SD : Do you deny that
SS : I havent got any concern. They write some dirty history to me. I brought the case to the court, so many of them, all time to time. The three incident of that time, only one guy died in Sanam Luang, because somebody beat them and burn them by the by the by the by the wire, uh, by the by the by the tire. And this only one. Three thousand student is in the Thammasat University. So they were caught there, and then the military would like to bring them out. So they take the shirt, and like this, like that, uh, like the, bring the shirt and put it on [gesturing to tie hands behind back with opened shirt]. Three thousand lying on the ground of Thammasat University football field. So that they bring all the truck to bring them, put in the shirt and put them on, and then going to let them out to the barrack. Then the only way not to let the people being harmed. Three thousand of them. And then they going out there and so many afraid they fled into the jungle, so many go back home. And then, nobody die in Thammasat University. And the student try to go to the barrack [?] just to bring the Nobody die, not
SD : Well with all due respect, historians refer to it as one of the worst atrocities in Thailands history.
SS : That is a dirty history. Somebody did it. Somebody write something dirty like that.
SD : Well with all due respect, Ive actually watched the footage
SS : What the footage?
SD : Of that incident
SS : The killing?
SD : Yes, I have seen
SS : Its impossible.
SD : I have seen people being beaten
SS : Yes, true, in Sanam Luang, yes.
SD : their limp bodies on the ground
SS : Yes, thats true, that is one guy.
SD : Youre saying one
SS : Yes.
SD : Human rights groups would suggest it was dozens of students, possibly in the hundreds.
SS : For me, eh, for me, eh, if I am dirty, I am concerned with many thing, I cannot come this far. This dirty history always come. I just have a, a lady like you come from far away, asking this question. Even the Thai, they dare not ask this question to me. If I am a dirty man like that, I cannot get, when I run as the governor of Bangkok, somebody bring this case again. Oh, a murderer with the blood in the hand cannot run as a governor. I bring the case to the court. So the judge says that, Khun Samak, we are going to run, eh? Please forgive them, that misunderstanding, just forgive them and withdraw the case and then a good thing to you. So I just think, I agree with the court, with the judge, so I withdraw the case. And when I ran, eh, I got over million vote in Bangkok. Never before. The highest anyone get is 700,000. I got over one million. And then, how about a man, a dirty man like that being elected? The ward is two million something. I got over one million, and the rest, somebody got one hundred, uh, five hundred thousand. And, is not a proof that the people of Bangkok, educated people, four million voters, they come to vote with two million, one million, over a million voted for me, and the rest, chose a small fraction for others.
SD : Alright, you are facing corruption charges over your term as Bangkok governor
SS : And then the corruption charge, can they do anything to me yet? So its a dirty trick that they [?] I sue the chairman of the two court. So until now the case run for two years. Why two years cannot bring me to the court yet? Not the, the case is not to the court yet. Any case, bring, three years ago, with the putting a garbage, anything. The cost may be 9000 but that last for ten years. But it finish for three years until now. Its nothing wrong with it, but they want to destroy me. Somebody, I call it a dirty hand, a black hand nobody sees, an invisible hand, want to destroy me. Now, you must stay long enough. Even for anywhere in the world, can you, can see that, must I be in jail with this case or not? Its a dirty trick to Samak to put it in. If a man like I says that, You, this reporter, you are lousy girl, you kill someone, you are [?], will you be like that? No. No.
SD : Alright, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for speaking
SS : No, do believe me. Frankly speaking, you must [?] like that. Someone put a dirty [?] on someone. If Im a dirty man like that, if Im corruption, why I was elected?
SD : Alright, we have to leave it there
SS : Why this party get 233 seats? Why? Why the one who is very clean get 165? Why? Just ask me the question just answer the question to me.
SD : Alright Mr. Prime Minister, we have to leave it there. Thank you for talking to 101 East.
SS : Thank you for coming, but please, uh, do some homework. Dont get some information and ask the question. If I am not real, uh, I cannot come this far. Thank you for coming. Thats enough.