11 July 2024

The pro-government Bhumjaithai Party and the opposition Move Forward Party are engaged in a spat over the recent transfer of the director of Chana District Hospital, Dr. Supat Hasuwannakit, to Saba Yoi District Hospital as its new director.

The doctor, who is also head of the Rural Doctor Society, lodged a petition with the House Anti-Corruption Committee on Tuesday, accusing the Ministry of Public Health of unfairly transferring him to Saba Yoi district hospital, also located in Songkhla Province.

Dr. Supat claimed that, normally, the transfer of a district hospital director is approved by the public health permanent secretary but, in his case, it was approved by the ministry’s inspector-general.

He also asked a House committee to look into the Public Health Ministry’s campaign boards at various district hospitals, about a New Year gift for elderly people, noting that they might violate the election law.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is also leader of the Bhumjaithai Party.

The Move Forward Party issued a statement protesting against the transfer of Dr Supat, claiming that it was politically motivated. In response, a group of Bhumjaithai Party MPs asked the House Speaker to seek a Constitutional Court ruling over the Move Forward Party’s alleged interference in the internal administration of Public Health Ministry and whether its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, should be stripped of his parliamentary status.

Move Forward MP Rangsiman Rome explained today (Thursday) that the party has the right to protest Dr. Supat’s transfer and that its action is not interference in the internal affairs of the Public Health Ministry.

He noted that Dr. Supat’s transfer was not normal, but may stem from the doctor’s criticism of the ministry’s performance. “Our position is to protect good junior officials,” said Rangsiman.

Talking to the media today, Anutin defended the transfer as normal procedure and nothing unusual, while admitting that he is unaware of the full details of the case.

He pointed out that Dr. Supat has close relationship with the Move Forward Party, with both sharing a similar political ideology adding, however, he will not interfere with his officials’ political affiliations.