12 July 2024

Thailand’s secretariat of the Cabinet has allocated some Bt2.6 million of taxpayers’ money to buy 111 iPhones for its high-ranking officials, citing efficiency and good governance, but attracting considerable public criticism as well.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is eligible to receive one as head of the Cabinet, has forgone this particular privilege.

After the procurement document went viral and drew criticism on Tuesday, an advisor at the prime minister’s office, Nattariya Taweewong, explained that smartphones issued to the office’s executives are due to be changed, hence the purchase.

The quoted price is also lower than the market price, the advisor added.

The procured iPhone 12s came in two capacities. 64 GB for lower ranking officials and 128 GB for those holding higher positions.

According to the leaked procurement document, the iPhones are intended to help ensure efficiency in public administration and enhance speed in accordance with the principle of good governance.

The iPhone 12s are to replace the executives’ smartphones procured in 2017, the document read.