11 July 2024

Interior Permanent Secretary Suttipong Juljarern appears to be in hot water again, as people in Phuket plan to rally at the new provincial hall on Thursday to protest over his alleged insults aimed at the provincial administration’s garbage disposal and environment management.

Suttipong was also accused of threatening to ask the international community to oppose Phuket’s proposal to host “Specialised Expo 2028”, claiming that the province is not qualified to organise such an event because it has failed in the protection and management of the environment and in promoting awareness of the climate change issue.

Chaiyot Punyawai, president of the Phuket Lawyers Association, said in his recent Facebook post that Suttipong’s remarks have tarnished the reputation of Phuket, claiming that Phuket is among a number of provinces highly ranked by the country’s National Anti-Corruption Commission for its transparency and good governance. In addition, he said that Phuket normally generates over 400 billion baht in tourist revenues.

As the highest-ranking civil servant at the Interior Ministry, Chaiyot said that Suttipong should have treated the people in Phuket with more respect and dignity and should not have denigrated the province or its people.

He called on all sectors in Phuket, including local officials, non-governmental organisations and the public, to join forces to promote Phuket’s hosting to the “Specialised Expo 2028”.

Three election candidates from the Move Forward Party, including Chalermpong Saengdee, issued an open letter, urging Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda to dismiss Suttipong as the permanent secretary.

The interior permanent secretary had also made negative remarks about Phuket at a meeting of executives on December 27th, for which he received widespread criticism on social media for allegedly insulting and humiliating an official in the presence of several others. The meeting was livestreamed via Zoom.

The student club of the Faculty of Political Science at Chulalongkorn University has demanded his resignation as president of the association of the faculty’s alumni for his alleged dehumanising of the official.