BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Friday night that the presence of military figures in the Cabinet was necessary to deal with certain security issues.
He also insisted that he would serve the country for the benefit of the country and the people, adding that he did not side with any particular political party.
"I want everyone in the country to look at the country first and do not pay much attention on individuals," he said during his weekly TV programme Returning Happiness to People In The Country, which was broadcast nationwide on Friday night.
Speaking for the first time in his new role, the new prime minister assured that members of his Cabinet will be replaced if their performance is poor or moral standard is low.
"Any Cabinet member who does not work well will be replaced. There is no limit in the number of Cabinet reshuffle. Bad people will have to go and whoever is corrupt will be sent to jail. So please do not worry," General Prayuth said.
He was attempting to allay concerns about the quality of his Cabinet members, many of whom are expected to come from the military.
"Don't be too wary and there will be no good people left" to serve the country in the Cabinet, said Gen Prayuth, who also heads the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and serves as the Army commander-in-chief.
Furthermore, he also denied that the NCPO ignored the corruption problems in the national reform plans.
"I have also heard concerns from certain sectors that the NCPO has not included the prevention and tackling of corruption in the 11-point Reform Agenda. I wish to state here that the NCPO gives extreme importance to this matter and see it as one of the first issues that need to be tackled by reforms," Gen Prayuth said.
He said the NCPO set corruption prevention as important condition for every reform agenda, including political and administration reforms.
"Corruption has been deep-rooted in Thai society. The problem needs to be seriously addressed now. In order to see concrete and rapid progress within one year, we require the cooperation of all sectors, including the state and private sectors, civil society, and the ordinary people," he said.
Gen Prayuth also thanked the National Legislative Assembly for selecting him as the prime minister and thanked Thais for having confidence in him, and expressed his deep gratitude to Thailand's King for appointing him.
"This has been the highest honour of my life - and not only for myself, but for my entire family," he said.
"I am happy to bear the responsibility in moving the country towards a sustainable future. From now on, I will be responsible for moving the country and the people forward and working together in national development for the benefit of all."