11 July 2024

Former secretary-general of the Future Forward party, Dr. Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, was been dealt a huge setback upon learning that nine MPs from the defunct party have defected to the government coalition Bhumjaithai party.

“I never thought that, following the dissolution of the party, everything would be forgotten so quickly.  I believe, when they (the defectors) were with the Future Forward party, we gave everyone an opportunity to play their role, but I don’t know whether they will be given the same opportunity when they are in other parties.  In the end, I would like to ask what the value of being an MP is.  What is the thinking behind joining the Bhumjaithai party,” said an apparently upset Piyabutr, who admitted that he felt pain in his heart over the defection of the MPs.

The nine former Future Forward MPs were seen by reporters seated among Bhumjaithai MPs during the censure debate late Monday night, but with their name cards flipped over.  Some were seen having dinner in the guest room of the Bhumjaithai party.

Among the defectors are Bangkok MP Monthon Pokhai, Bangkok MP Somkiart Thanomsilp, Phrae MP Aekkarn Suesongtham, Bangkok MP Chotetipat Techasoponmanee, Pathum Thanee MP Anawin Rattanasathaporn, Chachoengsao MP Kittochai Ruangsawat, Khon Kaen MP Thitinan Saengnark and party-list MPs Wirat Panthummaphol and Samlee Raksuthee.

On Friday, the Constitutional Court ordered the Future Forward party dissolved and banned the party’s executive committee from politics for ten years, after ruling illegal the taking of a 191.2 million loan from its then leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

The former ideologue of the party admitted that this was the first time he had personally experienced such a mass defection. “I don’t know what the motivation (for their defection) was.  How many more votes does the Government want?  Is this the political reform that we want to see for political parties?” he lamented.

Piyabutr said he spoke with the executives of several other parties, who contemptuously likened Future Forward MPs to samlor drivers who won lottery jackpot. He said he had always defended them, saying that they were not, and that they were quality MPs “but, in the end, they have dispersed to join the other parties.”

Asked what legal action he will take against the nine defectors, he said he had not yet decided.