Opposition leader says he does not trust prime minister or his government

Pheu Thai party leader Sompong Amornvivat said in parliament today (Thursday) that he does not trust Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his old economic team to solve the country’s pressing problems because they have failed to do so over the past five years.

Addressing MPs and senators, after the Prime Minister had completed his policy statement, the opposition leader blamed mismanagement by the previous administration, also led by General Prayut, and the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), for causing extensive damage to the country.

He said the previous government had completely failed to address economic problems, to the extent that Thailand has earned the infamous reputation of being “The sick man of Asia.”

“Being the sick man of Asia is sad enough, but even more saddening is that the old economic team is also the government’s new economic team. Thailand today is like a sick man who is not dead yet, but will never grow up,” said Mr. Sompong.

Citing the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2018, he said that income disparity in Thailand is shocking, with only 1% of a population of over 70 million people controlling 58% of the national wealth, compared to 25 million Thais who, combined, control just 1.7% of nation’s wealth.

“All the government policies in this statement will be worthless and useless for the management of the economy if the government does not address the debt problem,” said Mr. Sompong as he quoted a report which shows that Thailand has the 10th highest level of household debt in the world.

He said that the previous government had failed miserably in political reform, citing the Prime Minister’s frequent use of special powers under Section 44 of the interim charter, violations of human rights and political intimidation.

He accused the referendum, held to endorse the Constitution, of being unjust due to restrictions prohibiting people who opposed the charter from campaigning.

The opposition leader also criticized the former government’s failure to review spending on defence and indulging in unnecessary and expensive procurement, such submarines and a bloated military.

He also criticized the appointment to his cabinet of some individuals with criminal records related to illegal narcotics and murder. Even the Prime Minister has problems with his qualification for the post, he added.

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