Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said that the government would retain holidays related to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to express loyalty to the late monarch on the occasion of his birthday, December 5th.
The government plans to honour His Majesty the late King with the title “the Great” after the conclusion of royal funeral rites, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said. He stressed that the royal funeral rites must be concluded before the matter can go forward. The cabinet must first approve the title and forward it to the Royal Household Bureau for endorsement. The calendar would have to be adjusted after the new reign commences, officials said, adding that the Royal Household Bureau would take care of the details.
However, holidays linked to the late King Rama IX will remain, although with some name changes, because of His Majesty’s profound influence on Thailand, the PM said. He added that he would wait for an appropriate time after the royal funeral to humbly offer His Majesty the posthumous title of “Bhumibol Maharaj”, or “Bhumibol the Great”. Steps such as building a monument or offering a designation to the late monarch would require the Cabinet’s approval and the Royal Household Bureau’s endorsement. The government would also apply the King’s policies in administering the country, such as implementing sustainable agriculture promotion measures, he said, adding that included ceasing rice paddy cultivation in unsuitable areas so farmers could shift to other crops and not be a burden on the government.
Athisit Chainuwat, deputy government spokesman, said the Cabinet had approved three categories of activities to be held to celebrate His Majesty’s birthday: physical, verbal and mental activities. Physical activities include cleaning temples, visiting sick people, reading to the blind and hosting exhibitions; verbal activities included taking an oath of loyalty, performing good deeds and singing the Royal Anthem in front of the King’s portrait; and mental activities included meditating and praying. The main oath-taking event will be led by Prayut at Government House, while others will take place at Bangkok schools and in the provinces at public plazas overseen by villages, tambon or districts. The Foreign Ministry will host similar activities on Sunday for the public’s convenience, Athisit added.