11 July 2024

Thailand’s opposition Move Forward Party is urging members of the public to voice their support for the party’s draft Progressive Liquor Bill openly and to share the party’s view on this issue on social media, according to party leader Pita Limjaroenrat.

In his Instagram post today (Wednesday), Pita explained the five reasons why the Move Forward Party initiated the Bill in the first place.

The Bill to liberalise liquor production would help boost local economies and tourism, distribute income to rural areas, broaden the tax base and put an end to Thailand’s liquor business oligopoly.

Pita said that there is no reason for the government not to support this Bill, which is intended to help ordinary people, so they can have a share of the cake, instead of letting big business have it all to themselves.

The Move Forward Party’s reaction was in response to an official report that the cabinet, at its meeting yesterday, signalled that coalition parties should scuttle the Progressive Liquor Bill in parliament.

Government chief whip Nirote Sunthornlekha explained today that neither the government nor Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has anything to do with whether this Bill or the Cannabis Bill will pass the second and final readings in the House.

He explained that the final decision whether to approve the bills, which have been returned to the House after approval by their respective scrutiny panels, rests with individual MPs in early November.

Deputy Spokesmen for the Prime Minister’s Office, Tipanan Sirichana, meanwhile, dismissed the suggestion that the prime minister is behind the move to ditch the Progressive Liquor Bill.

She insisted that the prime minister has never interfered with legislative affairs, which is within the jurisdiction of parliament. She said that the opposition parties might have overacted in order to create public misunderstanding regarding the government.