11 July 2024

Thailand’s Government and Opposition are combat ready for a showdown in the first censure debate in six years, which kicks off tomorrow, with opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng saying Saturday that, after the 3 day debate, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will be renamed “the ruling sinner” because “he is standing on the sufferings of the other people” and will be cursed.

The Prime Minister, he said, will be the main target of the Opposition’s attack over his government’s incompetence, resulting in the country being beset with one crisis after another, from the global trade war, the baht’s appreciation and the export slump to PM2.5 pollution and, lately, the COVID-19 outbreak.

Suthin said that the main objective of the censure motion is to bring about changes in Thailand at three levels, namely to change the way we think and work and improve the efficiency of national administration, to change ministers (cabinet reshuffle) and to change of the prime minister and his government.

The other five cabinet members to be grilled include deputy prime ministers Prawit Wongsuwan and Wissanu Krea-ngarm, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao.

Opposition Pheu Thai MPs met yesterday for a final briefing, with Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, the party’s strategic chief, in the chair. The party’s speakers were invited to brief the meeting about the issues on which they are to grill individual ministers and the information they have in hand to ensure an effective debate.

The speakers will be supported with information from the party’s special operations panel, led by former MP Chalerm Yubamrung.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Anudit Nakhontap, who is in charge of online media for the party, said that the public will be updated about the debate’s progress through the party’s social pages and website, including details of the questions asked by MPs and the responses from the target ministers “so they can judge which information is true, false or inaccurate”.

Meanwhile, government MPs met for two days, at a hotel in Chon Buri province, to prepare for the showdown.  Government chief whip Mr. Wirat Rattanaseth said that the Government would only accept 20% of the debate being spent on the performance of the previous administration.

With the exception of the Prime Minister, who will be given special support by government MPs, he said the remaining five ministers will be given equal treatment.

Vice minister attached to PM’s Office, Suporn Atthawong, formerly a red-shirt core member, warned the Pheu Thai party that government MPs would hit back, by raising the rice infamous pledging scheme of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, if opposition MPs focus too much on the previous military regime.