11 July 2024

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has indicated that he might order a minor cabinet reshuffle before the New Year.

The prime minister was challenged by a group of reporters at Impact Muang Thong Thani yesterday (Monday) who asked him when he will respond to the Democrat Party’s nomination, about 7 weeks ago, of Naris Khamnurak, MP forPhatthalung Province, as deputy interior minister, to succeed Nipon Boonyamanee.

Nipon left the cabinet in September to face trial on a charge of malfeasance, for allegedly refusing to pay 51 million baht for the purchase of two multi-purpose trucks by the Songkhla Provincial Administrative Organisation back in 2013.

“You will know when I make the decision,” said the prime minister. When reporters pressed him on the matter, he replied “I am considering.”

Asked whether the shakeup will occur before New Year and whether it will involve several ministers, the prime minister said that the empty cabinet seats will be filled.

In addition to the vacant deputy interior minister’s seat, a few more seats have been vacant for some time. For instance, the deputy agriculture and deputy labour ministers’ seats, previously held by Thamanat Prompao and Narumon Pinyosinwat respectively.

Prime Minister Prayut sacked Thamanat and Narumon in September last year, after both were accused of being behind a plot to oust him during a censure debate, by canvassing for votes against him.

There is also the empty deputy education minister’s seat, after Kanokwan Vilawan, of the Bhumjaithai Party, was ordered by the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders to stop performing her duties, after she was accused,by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, ofencroachment on land in Khao Yai National Park in Prachin Buri Province since 1990.