Pheu Thai questions PM’s excuse for staying in Army welfare housing
Pheu Thai party spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard has challenged the excuses offered by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister Anupong Paochai justifying their continued stay in military welfare housing, despite having retired from the military service.
The Prime Minister cited security concerns for his continued stay in a military compound after his retirement, while General Prawit claimed he, in his capacity as chair of a foundation, has been staying at the foundation’s office, which is rented from the Finance Ministry. Meanwhile. General Anupong claimed it was inconvenient for him to live in his own house, due to its distance from the Interior Ministry, so he stays in welfare housing closer to his office.
Anusorn asked why the Prime Minister, General Prawit and General Anupong are exceptional cases and are not required to vacate welfare housing, while the other generals move out upon retirement.
He cited the case of former prime ministers Chuan Leekpai, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and the late Banharn Silpa-archa, who all stayed outside military barracks and do or did not have security problems.
“How can the people feel safe and trust officials in charge of security if their Prime Minister says that, for the sake of safety, he has to live inside a military compound?” Anusorn asked.
Former Thai Raksa Chart party’s strategic chief Chaturon Chaisaeng said the Prime Minister has openly defied the law by admitting that he still stays in military welfare housing.
He equates the transgression to former prime minister Samak Sundaravej’s violation of the law for hosting a cooking programme on the television, resulting in Samak being stripped of his premiership.
Meanwhile, Deputy Army Commander-in-Chief General Natthapol Narkpanich said today there are about 100 retired generals and special colonels who are still living in welfare housing units after their retirement.
He assured, however, that this problem will be resolved around March.
Asked why army generals with fat salaries do not buy their own houses, he declined to answer and told the media to ask the retired generals themselves.
The general said that are three possible ways to handle this issue:
- Build more welfare housing units, but there will never be enough to meet the demand and it will be a financial burden
- Retired officers should rent their own houses using the housing allowance from the Army
- A welfare housing scheme for those who do not have the privilege of staying in the army welfare housing