23 May 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning (Wednesday) covered one of his ears with his hand as he pretended not to hear a reporter’s question about the announcement yesterday that the Prachatham Thai party is to pull out of the government’s coalition.

Mr. Pichet Sathirachavan, leader of the small party, told the media yesterday that they had decided to break away from the coalition to join the independent opposition camp with the New Civilized party. He said his party is upset over a remark, allegedly made by Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao, the government’s fixer, describing the ten smallest parties in the government as “monkeys which need to be fed with bananas every now and then”.

The Prime Minister claimed he couldn’t hear the reporter’s question as he covered his ear.

However, Energy Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong, in his capacity as secretary-general of the Palang Pracharat party, told the media that the party was trying to meet with Mr. Pichet to discuss the problem caused the offensive remark.

He declined to comment on whether he thought the party would be able to convince Mr. Pichet to change his mind but did say he expected the party to discuss whether Thammanat should be replaced as the government’s fixer.

At a news conference yesterday, Mr. Pichet also put on display a bunch of bananas in protest against what he considered an insult against the smaller parties.

Last week, Mr. Pichet also threatened to quit the coalition after his party was passed over for the chairmanship of a House committee.