New Thai history book biased, say some experts

BANGKOK • A new Thai history book brought out by the government has triggered controversy, with experts from various institutions saying it was biased and could aggravate the political divide in the country.

"I believe a main objective of this book is to promote reconciliation. But I think this book may provide grounds for some people to attack the current government," said history lecturer Sunait Chutintaranond of Chulalongkorn University.

History professor Pipad Krajaejun of Thammasat University said the book appeared to lack a neutral political tone. "Without neutrality, some parts of the contents can't be right."

Among the alleged flaws listed by the academics were statements that the now banned Thai Rak Thai party implemented populist policies and its leader Thaksin Shinawatra committed election fraud. The book goes on to say that the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led government focused on transparency when implementing its policies, some of them populist.

Professor Sunait suggested the current government had no need to rush to reach a conclusion on still-unfolding political developments, as people sometimes need time to clearly see or understand what actually transpired. Such information could trigger another round of conflict among people with different political ideas, he said.

Professor Pipad said: "If you're going to discuss a political conflict in the country's history, present facts from all sides, both the winners and the losers, so that readers can get well-rounded information and learn a lesson."

The book was published on the orders of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha by the Culture Ministry.

THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'New Thai history book biased, say some experts'. Print Edition | Subscribe