Student leaders rejects the government’s committee proposal

Student protest leaders across Thailand told Thai Enquirer on Friday that they rejected a government proposal to establish a parliamentary committee to deal with the protests.

Parliament, on Thursday, voted to set up an investigation committee that will explore the demands of the student protesters and ways to build dialogue between the government and the students.

The opposition voted against the motion, however, saying that a committee will be laborious and slow in establishing dialogue and called on the government to talk to the students directly including hearing their demands in the lower house.

On Friday, student leaders told Thai Enquirer that they too rejected the motion and said it was a government attempt to stall for time as student protests pick up momentum.

“This committee is just for show and is set up to create legitimacy for the government,” said Jutatip Siriban, a student leader in Bangkok. “They make a big deal of it so that it seems like they are listening to the people and doing something about it.”

According to Jutatip, the government has done something similar in the past but resulted in nothing. Jutatip said that the committee will not solve anything because the problems that the students are addressing are structural in nature.

Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, a student leader and activist in Bangkok, told Thai Enquirer that the committee was “a trick” to prolong the government’s rule and stop students from protesting.

“This does not solve anything because it all depends on the government that they need to come out and clarify on what problems they want to solve,” he said. “But they do not really listen and just set up this investigation committee for the sake of it which does not solve the problem.”

Student protest leaders across the country agree with Netiwit and Jutatip’s assessment.

“I think we’re well aware that the Bangkok government is not to be trusted,” said Samli Zeeshan, a student protest leader in Pattani. “The government will say whatever they want and create an image but the reality is that they want to just remain in power.”

“The people of the South know this reality all too well.”

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