11 July 2024

A panel of the House Budget Scrutiny Committee has approved, by a slim majority, the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) plan to procure two Chinese-made submarines, at a cost of about 22.5 billion baht.

Panel member and Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham province, Mr. Yutthapong Charassathienn, said four members voted in support of the project, while four others opposed it, prompting the panel’s chairman, Mr. Supon Fong-ngam, to cast the decisive vote in support of the project.

The opposition MP said that the panel members who voted for the project are government MPs, namely Chiradet Srivirach and Mrs. Kornnit Ngamsukhonrattana of Palang Pracharat party, Mrs. Siriwan Prasayrchaksatroo of the Democrat party and Chayut Pummakanchana of Bhumjaithai party.

Mr. Yutthapong said that he will ask the public to monitor submarine procurement, which he insists is unnecessary under the present circumstances, when a lot of people are suffering from the economic crisis.

He explained that the Opposition does not oppose the project, but does not agree with spending taxpayer’s money on a project which is not urgently needed, adding that, if the economic situation in Thailand improves, the Opposition would not object if the RTN wants to procure 4 or 5 submarines.