BANGKOK: Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra begged the news media yesterday to go easy on him and his daughter over allegations that a top Bangkok university was pressured to lower its standards to enrol the 17-year-old girl.
I've been the target of attack every day, Thaksin said as he choked back tears. My daughter is very upset and has been crying in her room. She's a victim of politics. Please don't punish her like this just because her father is PM. I beg of you for some sympathy.
The unusually contrite plea from the normally combative leader followed a storm of criticism when his daughter, Paethongthan, was admitted to Chulalongkorn University's Media Management Programme, despite the fact that her 2.43 grade point average in high school fell below the programme's GPA requirement of at least 2.75.
Criticism from the media and parents whose rejected children had higher grades than Paethongthan's prompted the university's communication arts faculty on Thursday to reverse its decision, leaving the prime minister's daughter among the also-rans.
Thaksin, who publicly defended his son Panthongtae two years ago against charges of cheating on a political science exam, said complaints about his daughter's admission were politically motivated.
Thaksin concluded his televised plea for media mercy by lowering his head and pressing his palms together in a Thai-style wai. dpa
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