11 July 2024

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai has vowed to make the Thai Parliament an institution recognized by the Thai people and by the international community as the model of an organization which respects the laws and on which the people can rely.

On New Year’s Eve, Mr. Chuan, who is also parliament president, said that, throughout 2019 both the House of Representatives and the Senate had been doing the best they could.

He said he would like all MPs to realize their importance as lawmakers and to work with honour and for the people’s benefit, after the country did not have an elected parliament for five years under junta’s rule, adding that it is not unusual that the present parliament is viewed in a negative light, domestically and externally.

Chuan admitted that, initially, there were some MPs who did not follow parliamentary rules, but the situation has steadily improved and MPs of both camps have been cooperative in making parliament functional, citing the fact that there are only six urgent motions pending with the House “which is unprecedented.”

The House speaker said that he wants Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and other cabinet ministers to attend parliamentary meetings more often and had consulted with all parties concerned regarding the amendment of some regulations, relating to interpellations, to make the process less time consuming.

He complained that only two bills were deliberated in the House for the whole year, but promised that the House will perform much better the coming year.

Chuan said that he wanted parliament to be recognized as a functional legislature and would like MPs not to consider him as being pedantic over insignificant issues, such as bringing food and drinks into the parliament chamber and leaving the containers to be disposed of by janitors, as well as the dress code, adding that he holds no grudges against any MPs for their inappropriate conduct.

“For democracy to prevail, it must be effective, otherwise people will go for dictatorship, because it works fast, but that will lead to disaster.  We must make democratic rule effective and dedicated to the people – which means the problems of the people must reach the Government through the parliamentary process. Everything is centralized, however, and this must be changed to enable parliament to handle policy matters as well,” said Mr. Chuan.