Many Thais recently expressed their hope to see the construction of Thailand-China railway project begin sooner as Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has confirmed that his "absolute power" bestowed by 2014 interim constitution would be used to push the project forward.
"It is up to Prime Minister Prayut to decided whether to use the Article 44 to speed up the Thailand-China rail project, but I support that the construction should be sped up," Supachai Panitchpakdi, former secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and former director-general of the World Trade Organization(WTO) said during a seminar on Wednesday.
The Thai government divided the 252-km rail from Bangkok to northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima into four sections. The work of the first 3.5-km section in Nakhon Ratchasima will begin in 2017 for sure, according to the government.
According to the plan, the rail will be extended another 355 km to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border, connecting with China-Lao railway.
Many Thai netizens also support the move to speed up the construction of the high-speed railway.
A netizen said in a video he posted on Facebook on Thursday that he supports Prayut to use Article 44 to push the high-speed rail project, which will turn over a new leaf in Thailand's transport history.
"The project is too slow, it has been three years and they haven't begun the construction, I support the prime minister to use Article 44 to speed it up," a user said on Thailand's popular forum Pantip.
According to government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, Prayut will use the Article 44 next week to solve some legal difficulties in the project.
Article 44 of the 2014 interim constitution stipulates that for the sake of the country, Prayut may issue any order or take any action with the legislative, executive or judicial sanctions and such order, action and performances of anyone accordingly are legal and final.
Though the 20th constitution is promulgated earlier in April, the current government can still use the Article 44 until a new government is formed after a general election.