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The Star Online: Nation

Thailand coup: Military assures VIP treatment for those in custody

Posted: 24 May 2014 08:49 AM PDT

BANGKOK: Thailand's military junta assures that those detained following a coup on Thursday, including former prime minister Yingluck Shinawara, are well treated.

However, the military junta declined to say where they are being detained and for how long.

"Former prime minister is being treated as a VIP. We need to provide some good understanding, we need to clarify, to create a good environment," Colonel Weerachon Sukondhapatipak told reporters at the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at the Army Club, Saturday.

The NCPO deputy spokeman added that "we want them to be themselves".

"They don't have to answer any question and do anything apart from having time to relax and think over the situation," he said.

According to martial law, a person can be detained without charge for no more than one week, and many of those in custody are closely link to Yingluck's brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who is now in exile.

The military junta also tightened its grip on power by dissolving the senate and putting legislative power in its hand.

Anti-coup protests have occurred in the country since Friday with reports stating that at least five anti-coup protesters were detained in Bangkok central business district on Friday night.

There were more protests Saturday against the coup and calls for an early election.

Colonel Wintai Suwaree, the NCPO spokesman, said so far, the military had not taken legal action against anti-coup protesters as they preferred compromise by negotiating with the protesters.

On Saturday morning, about 200 anti-coup protesters gathered to protest in front of a shopping mall in northern Bangkok, and in the afternoon they moved to the Victory monument.

"Return power to the people, we want freedom and election, we don't want a coup," they shouted.

The military junta also allowed television channels to resume normal programming, except for international news channels such as CNN which remained blocked.

The coup will certainly have an adverse impact on the economy of Thailand, especially the tourism sector which targets to attract 27 million tourists this year.

The curfew between 10pm to 5am imposed in Bangkok has already affected nightlife in the capital.

However, thousands of rice farmers will be relieved as army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said that funds have been made available for them and is confident it could be paid within 20 days. – Bernama

Former Sungai Balang rep passes away

Posted: 24 May 2014 08:15 AM PDT

JOHOR BARU: Former state Women and Family Development, Welfare and Health exco Dr Robia Kosai (pic) passed away from heart problems at the Tawakal Hospital in Kuala Lumpur at around 8.30pm Saturday.

Robia, who was the former Sungai Balang state assemblyman, held the exco position for two terms before stepping aside after the 13th General Elections.

It is learnt that Robia had been undergoing treatment at the hospital. She is understood to have had heart surgery earlier this year.

Her remains are expected to be brought to her hometown in Muar where she will be buried.

Bukit Gelugor by-election: EC rejects Abu Backer’s decision to withdraw from polls

Posted: 24 May 2014 07:39 AM PDT

GEORGE TOWN: The state Election Commission (EC) has rejected the last-minute decision of independent candidate Abu Backer Sidek Md Zan (pic) to withdraw from the Bukit Gelugor by-election.

Abu Backer, 46, announced his decision to withdraw from Sunday's byelection at Padang Suria Kampung Melayu on Saturday.

When contacted, Penang EC deputy director Azizan Ahmad said that there could be no withdrawals once the nomination period ended at 10am on May 12.

The Bukit Gelugor by-election was called following the death of its member of parliament Karpal Singh in a road accident on April 17.

The by election will see a four-cornered fight for the seat involving Abu Backer, DAP's Ramkarpal Singh, Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) vice-president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan and independent candidate Mohamed Nabi Bux Mohd Nabi Abdul Sathar.

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