11 July 2024

The much-criticized planned trip to Singapore by Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada is a working visit and is permissible under parliamentary regulations, said the House speaker on Monday.

Padipat, as the leader of a group, asked to make an official visit to Singapore from September 21 to 25, but had not been officially invited, Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha told reporters.

The House speaker said he approved the trip and a budget of Bt1.379 million for the group of 12 people.

Padipat said in his proposal, seen by the media, that his trip to Singapore is aimed at learning about information and communication technology for meetings, Thai worker management and sustainable environmental management.

Five of the group were identified as assistants to the MPs attending who will pay their own expenses. The seven MPs joining the trip will spend Bt114,650 each.

Meanwhile, United Thai Nation party deputy spokesman Pongpol Yodmuangcharoen has questioned Padipat’s use of so much taxpayer money to take the group to Singapore.

In his Facebook post today (Monday), Pongpol claimed that the trip is “not urgent at all.”

He noted, however, that the hotel accommodation rate is Bt12,500 per night for four nights, adding that they could find much cheaper accommodation in Singapore.

He also highlighted that the budgeted round-trip air fare, at Bt51,250 each, is very expensive, as the normal air fare is about Bt4,000 in economy class.