Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda assured on Wednesday that the current government led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha is free from corruption.
“I can say proudly that the government of General Prayut Chan-o-cha is not cheating. But if I am wrong, the prime minister will have to deal with [any corruption] problem,” Prem said.
He added that Prayut thought of the country’s interest over his personal benefit.
The elderly statesman and former prime minister was speaking to Cabinet members led by Prayut and armed forces commanders who called on him at his Si Sao Thewet residence. The visitors offered Prem good wishes for the Thai New Year or Songkran.
Prayut told Prem he was pleased the chief Royal adviser was still in good health and has been able to provide them with advice whenever needed.
“Your honour, Privy Council president, has always taught us to focus on the importance of the nation, religion and the King. This thought has been with us all the time,” said Prayut, who also heads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order.
In response, Prem said: “I thank the prime minister, my beloved friend. We are pleased to see the prime minister, the armed forces and different state agencies having taken care of the country.”
He also asked all of them to help move the country forward for the benefit of all its population.
“Thank you again, the prime minister. I will always remember our friendship,” Prem said.
At 98 years old, Prem is still considered a powerful figure in Thai politics although he holds no political position.
On Wednesday, Prem also greeted Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan, who came to the Privy Council president’s house with a bandage on his right hand. Prawit received intravenous fluids for an illness, according to Prayut. Neither of them would answer questions about Prawit’s illness.
Upon meeting Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong, Prem told him to ignore criticism. “Just focus on your work,” Prem said.
Apirat had earlier been involved in arguments with politicians and critics of the armed forces who asked for reforms of the Thai military and abolition of conscription.
Also at his house on Wednesday, Prem exchanged Songkran wishes with the media.
One of the wishes was for Prem to live until 120. In response, Prem joked that he would have to walk on all fours at that age. “But I will always live for the country,” he added.