6 June 2024

Parliament has, for a long time, provided free meals for parliamentary officials, MPs and senators, but public attention has been drawn to alleged irregularities by an MP, from the Bhumjaithai party, who took a photo of Move Forward MP Sirilapas Kongtrakarn taking home some food from the canteen.

Sirilapas, a former actress, is a first time MP. The Bhumjaithai MP posted the picture on Facebook, with a caption implying that Sirilapas was smuggling the food home.

The image went viral and Sirilapas was forced to defend herself, saying she has the right to take the food as it had been left untouched. The canteen staff put the food in bags and place them on the tables every day for anyone to take home.

“Have you ever heard about food waste? The food is prepared for us so, if we cannot eat it here, we take it home, so that it would not be thrown away,” Sirilapas said, adding that, although she thought it was nonsense to talk about the issue, she believes it is good that the public learn about this. “Maybe it is time to reduce the volume of food prepared in the parliament kitchens or cut the budget allocation for it.”

Thai netizens tracked down the MP who posted the photo and bombarded his Facebook with harsh comments, forcing him to close his account.

The drama even reached the parliament chamber today (Thursday), when a Move Forward MP raised the issue. Second deputy House speaker Pichet Chuamuangphan explained that it was not wrong to take the food home, adding that any MP can also take the food to their office in parliament for their assistants, he said.

Normally, if there is food left over, officials donate it to various organisations. “There are no rules prohibiting the taking home of food. Not only the MPs, but also parliamentary officials can take it home,” he said.

by Marisa Chimprabha