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Thawil vents ire over inactive post

Written By photo 7 background picture on Friday, September 2, 2011 | 7:33 PM

Thawil: Unhappy

Govt wears fallout over Priewpan's promotion

A furious Thawil Pliensri, secretary-general of the National Security Council, has threatened legal action following his transfer to an inactive position as a result of the change in the police chief's job.
Mr Thawil is being replaced by Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree, who stepped down on Thursday as police chief at the government's urging.
The government says Pol Gen Wichean is well-suited to the NSC secretary-general's job, but Mr Thawil, the incumbent, said the policeman should have resisted with more gusto the government's attempts to force him from office.
Pol Gen Wichean is being replaced as police chief by Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, the elder brother of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's ex-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.
The choice has led to criticisms that the government is putting nepotism before talent in its choice of key jobs. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is Thaksin's younger sister.
Mr Thawil will be shifted to an inactive post at the PM's Office next week.
He said yesterday the move was unfair, and he would rather take a permanent secretary's seat at a ministry.
He said he may complain to the Administrative Court and the Merit Systems Protection Committee under the Civil Service Commission.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said the Pheu Thai-led government could not work with Mr Thawil, who had served the Democrat-led government as secretary of the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), which cracked down on red shirt protesters last year.
"Personally, I thought Mr Thawil should ask for the transfer by himself," said Mr Chalerm, referring to the move to an inactive post.
Mr Thawil said Pol Gen Wichean should have fought to the end against government pressure to remove him from the top job in the force.
Mr Chalerm said Pol Gen Wichean had strong qualities in the areas of planning and intelligence, and was an appropriate choice to work as NSC chief.
He said Pol Gen Priewpan's qualities, on the other hand, favoured crime suppression. "Pol Gen Wichean is not suited to combat the gambling problems since he is more suited for administrative work. But Pol Gen Priewpan is the right man for the gambling operation," he said.
Democrat Party leader and former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva also weighed in to the reshuffle row, saying the planned removal of Pol Gen Wichean was unfair.
"Pol Gen Chalerm must watch his words in saying that Mr Thawil should be transferred because he served as CRES secretary, because Mr Thawil was only performing his duty," he said.
"If his performance is inappropriate then there must be an explanation."
Mr Chalerm denied the government was aiming to wipe out all senior officials who were promoted by the previous Democrat-led administration. He said the government would base its reshuffles on work efficiency.
Mr Chalerm also declined to confirm if Tharit Pengdit, director-general of the Department of Special Investigation, would be transferred.
He said that decision was up to Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.
When questioned about Pheu Thai Party list MP Jatuporn Prompan's prediction that political opponents would try to topple the government after Dec 5, Mr Chalerm said he would discuss the issue with Mr Jatuporn today.
Meanwhile, members of the Network of Citizen Volunteers to Protect the Land led by Tul Sitthisomwong yesterday read out a statement in front of the national police headquarters expressing opposition to the removal of Pol Gen Wichean.
If the police chief had done anything wrong, Mr Chalerm should set up a panel to investigate, the group said. The deputy prime minister should not pressure the police chief to step down.
When Pol Gen Priewpan is officially made police chief, Thaksin would benefit, the group said.