Less than two days after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha called for the country to reopen within 120 days in his national TV speech, members of his government retracted the exact date of the reopening.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the reopening will begin 120 days from July 1.
Other ministers said 120 days was just a guideline and the reopening would take place sometime in October.
That means no one knows exactly when the country will reopen.
And that’s part of the problem with this government, which has endured its Covid-19 response since early this year. The ongoing disputes, mixed messages from various ministries and government agencies have contributed to a lack of public trust in government officials and guidelines.
Worse, the lack of clear messages has also created chaos in the public bureaucracy, as officials are unsure who exactly to listen to.
In this particular case, one can be sceptical and disagree with the set reopening date as doctors have expressed concerns. But coming out and explaining that the time frame is being extended from 120 days to 135 shows misunderstanding in the government.
Clear communication not only allows companies to reschedule their opening but also allows people to plan their travels and their daily lives. It is not a simple mistake, but a malicious one caused by incompetence.
The prime minister needs to do more to ensure consistency within his government and that messages are consistent.
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