Opening Speech By Lt. Preechaphol Pongpanit Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand

By Lt. Preechaphol Pongpanit

Correspondent’s Club of Thailand

4 April 2018


evening ladies and gentlemen. Many thanks to the FCCT for inviting me to join
this forum to share my views with colleagues. My name is Lt. Preechaphol Pongpanit.
I am a former member of parliament of Pheu Thai Party from Khonkaen. This
evening, I would like to address several issues that Thailand needs to change.

“New Normal Economy”

the present, every country around the globe is experiencing the “new reality”:
the reality of dramatic change in speed and character of technology (Artificial
Intelligence and robotic)
for industrial production, the change from a
country-based product to a network of global design, global sourcing,
global production,
and global market.
The world market has been changed due to the
development of information technology infrastructure and has been
changed in trade pattern due to people’s access to the internet. Disruptive
innovation is everywhere, for example technology, new business model, and software
or so-called sharing economy like UBER.

have to prepare Thailand for the “new normal” economy.
Solving labor
mismatches is a priority. Our party will support our people with the means to
survive in this new economic phenomenon through rebalancing the economy from
export-investment led to a more self-dependent, consumption-service led economy
and through providing more economic opportunities for our people.

must embrace technology in the world and improve
technology to benefit all,
especially for the poor. If we don’t embrace technology, we could be left
behind. We have been enjoying the GDP from tourism and export while the export
situation in Thailand now is like the sun before setting, which is going down. If
we don’t create the new S-curve for our country, how long can we still enjoy
the current one. These new S must be technology related.


new generation therefore must step forward and play a major role in this new
economy because “those who have decision-making power always have analog
thinking but those who have digital thinking always have no decision-making
the new generation must bridge the gap between the senior and
the new generation
by learning from their experiences and integrating
with the new knowledge, innovation and technology. To
bridge the gap, Thailand needs to improve on at least three fundamentals which
are education, local economy, and politics.


is the reform of education since the education is the foundation of generating Thailand’s
economic growth. As you can see our current education system is still
“rote-learning” or learning by memorizing. Today even Thai people do not
believe in Thai education system anymore. You can see from how many Thai people
who can afford choose to send their children to international schools.

  In current
global trend, we match education to our children’s ability.
The teachers must learn together with the students. No
more mouth-feeding. We must
decentralize Thailand’s education management to the provincial level, and, let
the management’s role be to advice or research on education technology like
education clouds or applications. We must reform our
education by adjusting the curriculum to match the global trend and integrating
technology to improve the curriculum. For example, if a 15-year old boy would
like to be a robotic engineer when he grows up, which school in Thailand would
be suitable for him?

bridging the gap of Education is a path we must take.
In summary, Thailand needs to

1)  Decentralize

2)  Increase
bilingual schools

3)  Use
IT technology to change the learning and teaching methods

4)  Aware
of convergence of sciences. The subject based learning is not working anymore.

5)  Find
the better quality of teachers then set proper incentive and career path.


  Second, as the economy changes, the old
prescription does not work anymore. However, the existing local economy still
have a good foundation.We must upgrade our “OTOP” from analog to digital. The new OTOP will
be Thai skills, Thai accent, with international design thru IT for global taste
and global market like Alibaba or Amazon-style. Otherwise, OTOP products will
meet a dead-end. We must attach “wings” for our local products to be seen
in the digital market. Connecting our local economy to the world is a key to

“Politic and the New Generation”

Thai politic needs the new generation who is a
not a chauvinist. We must value our national interest
We need politicians who always think about next generation more than those who
only think about next election.

  We can
think differently but we must respect in each other’s differences. Like in the
old days of Thai parliament when our fathers and uncles acted upon their duties
in the censure debate, they seemed to be opposed to one another. When off duty,
they were still friends. Sadly, nowadays it’s not the same. We as the new
generation must create the new culture by respecting the rules. 

  At the
same time, Thailand is in serious need for the reform of “Due Process”
and “Rule of Laws”. We all need to stop witch-hunting
those who think different than us. All must be equal before the law.
And the laws must not be executed with double standard. All Thais must have
equal protection under the same law because the laws and resources are here to
benefit the citizen and sovereign state not are here to protect the military
regime, as Charles de Montesquieu, a French political philosopher once said “There
is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law
and in the name of justice.