During the fight against COVID-19, the people of Thailand has been suffering from two things, the impact of the pandemic and the government itself. In this hard time, the government makes it harder.
Just recently, Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-Ocha announced that the country would extend its state of emergency until June 30. Many people and rights groups say that the extension of Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation is actually not a necessity.
According to Human Rights Watch, Thai government has abused emergency decree and anti-fake news narrative to suppress freedom of speech and criticisms. To be specific, the government has suppressed critical opinions from healthcare workers, media, and general public about the coronavirus pandemic response.
Since implementing lockdown in March, the government has issued list of prohibitions under the state of emergency. These, furthermore, lead to the restrictions of freedom of speech that can result in legal prosecutions.
Thailand vs COVID-19: The Absence of the Monarch
While Thai citizens are severely fighting against COVID-19, the current monarch King Maha Vajiralongkorn is absent from the country. The king is, at the moment, staying at a hotel in Germany along with 100 people and a harem of 20 women.
Since the beginning of the infection in the country, the king has never been there. This phenomenon, accordingly, has made its people question the existence and gravity of having a king.
Not only that, the king of Thailand has also received wide criticisms in Germany. The reason is not because the king appears to abandon its people by staying in another country. Public angers, however, emerge for the king himself freely violates the restriction rules.
That said, the king once went back to Thailand for merely 24 hours. His homecoming was only to attend a ceremony marking the founding of his dynasty. Right after the ceremony, the king flew back to Germany. This move, accordingly, made the people very furious.