Chuan warns MPs against unruly conduct during the parliamentary debate on government policy statement

Members of parliament have been warned by the parliament’s president to be disciplined and to refrain from unruly behavior during the two-day debate on the government policy statement, which begins on Thursday, saying that they will be watched and judged by the people.

Parliament president and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai held a meeting today with the whips from the government and opposition parties and the Senate to discuss the time limit for the debate.

It was agreed at the meeting that the entire debate would take about 28.5 hours, starting at 9.30am and end at between midnight and 1 am of the next day. The debate will resume on Friday at the same time and to end at the same time.

The opposition parties are allotted 13.5 hours for the debate, while the government parties are given 5.

Mr. Chuan said that any MPs who protest during the debate will have the time spent on the protest deducted from the time they are allocated.

Previously during parliamentary meetings, MPs resorted to heckling to disrupt the speeches of their rival members, triggering counter protests and unnecessary delays.

Meanwhile, the Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul announced that it will focus on debating on the government’s policies and will not challenge individual ministers, including Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The party has been allocated 260 minutes for the debate out of a total of the 13 plus hours for the Opposition parties. 18 MPs, led by Mr. Piyabutr, have been lined up to participate in the debate.

Piyabutr said that his debate would concentrate on the issues of democracy, human rights and decentralization, adding that the government policy statement spared only two paragraphs to mention constitutional amendments, without any commitment being made by the government.

The issues to be debated by the party’s MPs include economic policy, agricultural policy, debt problems of farmers, land problems, unrest pin the Deep South, the Pracharat welfare card program and the environment.

Prime Minister Prayut and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan are expected to be the main focus of the opposition Pheu Thai party.

Pheu Thai spokesman Anusorn Iam Sa-ard questioned the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit at the seminar of the Palang Pracharat MPs, at an illegal resort in Nakhon Ratchasima province, pointing out that the he is not a party member “but an outsider who may exercise influence over the party.”

The Prime Minister is expected to be grilled on his qualifications to be prime minister, due to his status as head of the new defunct National Council for Peace and Order.

As far as the Palang Pracharat party, the government’s core party, is concerned, all its constituency and party-list MPs have been told to be present in parliament during the two-day debate, and not to take sick or business leave.

Chart Thai Pattana party leader Ms. Kanchana Silpa-archa told the media today that all the party’s 10 MPs have been told to be seated in the chamber of parliament and to pay attention to the debates, as well as take notes of constructive comments from the opposition MPs on policy matters concerning the party.

Chart Thai Pattana party was assigned the Natural Resources and Environment portfolio in the new cabinet. It has been given 12 minutes for the debate.



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