11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha engaged in an animated verbal exchange, during the censure debate this morning (Thursday), with Move Forward MP Amarat Chokepamitkul, accusing the party of involvement in anti-Monarchy activities which, he said, he finds unacceptable.

Responding to this accusation, which was not specific, Amarat said that the prime minister should not have made such a serious remark without clarification and evidence and asked him to withdraw it, but he refused to do so.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai then intervened, saying that the censure debate was getting heated and that there was no need for the prime minister to withdraw his accusation, but he warned both sides to be cautious about what they say.

Amarat accused the prime minister of turning a blind eye to the army’s numerous procurement and construction projects which, she alleged, are not transparent and wasteful. She also accused the prime minister of being a tyrant, bent on undermining the democratic system.

The Move Forward MP claimed that several of the army’s construction projects were implemented by handpicked contractors, often before bidding was held or before bid results were announced.

Amarat also referred to Prayut’s nickname “Tu” which, she claimed, means to claim something from another person as his own. This prompted the prime minister to hit back immediately, asking her whether the words “Tu” and “Shorty”, apparently referring to Amarat’s height, bear the same meaning. His retort drew laughter from some government MPs.

The prime minister continued by saying that he didn’t think the two words were synonymous and asked which of the two of them has done more for the good of the country.

At the end of her speech, Amarat held up a mirror, saying that she wanted to present it to the prime minister so he could take a good look at himself, to which he replied he barely used mirrors anyway.

The 4-day censure debate, the fourth and final one for this administration, will wrap up on Friday, followed by a vote in the Lower House on Saturday.