11 July 2024

Bhumjaithai MP Chada Thaised stole the limelight from Thailand’s top PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat during the joint parliamentary meeting to elect a new prime minister on Thursday.

Chada’s fiery speech – which fiercely defended the monarchy and attacked Pita’s policy to amend the lese majeste law – made headlines and caught the attention of Thai politics watchers.

Father, mother, brother murdered

Born in 1961 to a Muslim family, Chada grew up in Uthai Thani. His grandfather migrated from Pakistan before settling in the northern province. His granddad was a major beef trader in the province, but Chada’s father launched into the lumber trade before switching back to selling and even exporting beef.

Though his family was wealthy thanks to the business, Chada had a tough childhood. His father was shot dead over a business conflict when Chada was just seven. When he reached the age of 14, his mother was also murdered. After his father’s death, Chada’s older brother Chaiyos Thaised took over the business, but he too was killed some seven months after their mother’s death.

Chada was barely 15 and had to grow up fast and muster strength to take over the family business. By his side was his younger sister, Mananya Thaiset. He quickly began making a name for himself in his hometown by standing up and challenging powerful and influential local figures.

Over the following decades, his business expanded to construction, mining, hotels, and real-estate.

Jump into politics

After losing his parents and being forced to become the family breadwinner at a young age, Chada had to complete his secondary schooling via a non-formal program. He later completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in politics at Ramkhamhaeng University.

Chada made his debut in local politics when he became deputy mayor and then mayor of Uthai Thani Municipality. In 2007, he graduated to national politics, entering Parliament as a Chart Thai Party MP.

After Chart Thai was dissolved in 2008, Chada joined its successor – Chartthaipattana Party. He was reelected in the 2011 general election under the Chartthaipattana banner.

In 2018, he switched his allegiance to the Bhumjaithai Party, going on to win the seat for Uthai Thani’s Constituency 2 easily in this year’s general election with 29,742 or 46.6% of the votes cast. Chada is currently deputy leader of Bhumjaithai.

He is also reportedly behind his sister Mananya’s political rise. He supported her successful bid for the post of Uthai Thani Municipality’s mayor, then helped her land the job of deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives minister in 2019.

Mayhem and another murder

Chada was arrested on suspicion of masterminding the 2003 murder of Somkiat Chanhirun, secretary to Thai Rak Thai MP Prasang Mongkhonsiri. He denied any wrongdoing and was eventually acquitted in court in 2005.

In 2012, one of Chada’s sons, Farut Thaiset, was shot dead in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district amid widespread rumors that the shooter had mistaken him for Chada. The son was in his father’s vehicle at the time.

However, in his court testimony, the shooting suspect insisted Farut had been killed in a road rage incident. He claimed Farut’s older brother was the first to open fire before shots were exchanged.

In 2017, Chada and his entourage were targeted in a police crackdown on organized crime in Uthai Thani. A police search of their vehicles turned up six guns and one pill of MDMA or ecstasy. Chada walked free after police failed to prove the items belonged to him.

Last year, Chada was accused of slapping MP Nattawut Prasertsuwan in Parliament over an argument about time slots for parliamentary speeches. Chada, however, has insisted that he was just angry and had only walked towards the MP to clear any misunderstanding.

“I did not hit him,” he insisted.

By Thai PBS World’s Political Desk