The Prime Minister and ten Government ministers will be targeted by the Opposition in a no-confidence debate on issues ranging from corruption to their flawed handling of Covid19.
The opposition has taken aim at Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha while also training their guns on 10 cabinet members from three coalition parties: the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), the Democrat Party and the Bhumjaithai Party.
Thai media reported that the ministers include Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
The Bangkok Post reported that the opposition parties met yesterday (Sunday) to review and finalise their targets and charges, with the no-confidence motion and details of the accusations to be submitted to the House Speaker today (Jan. 25)).
In the previous debate in February last year, Gen Prayut and four ministers faced a grilling and all comfortably survived a vote of no confidence.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat said the upcoming debate will zero in on Gen Prayut and Gen Prawit and will cover the government’s failure to tackle economic, social and political problems as well as corruption.
Mr Pita told Thai language media that it does not matter if the government will survive the no-confidence motion, as the opposition’s objective is to “open the people’s eyes” and reduce the government’s legitimacy.
However, the Bangkok Post reported that the opposition parties are not on the same page when it comes to who should be grilled and there seems to be some mistrust among themselves.
The MFP, a reincarnation of the dissolved Future Forward Party (FFP), and the Seri Ruam Thai Party are reportedly setting their sights on Gen Prayut, Gen Prawit and Mr Suchart over the smuggling of illegal migrant workers who are blamed as the source of the new Covid-19 outbreak.
However, they are concerned the main opposition Pheu Thai Party may not be committed to grilling Gen Prawit who was spared from the intense questioning in the previous debate.
At that time, the FFP accused Pheu Thai of shielding Gen Prawit by hogging most of the debate time and leaving the FFP members without any chance to question the targeted ministers.
Mr Pita, however, assured that he and the opposition leader will see to it that the incident will not be repeated.
According to the source, Pheu Thai is focusing on Gen Prayut over his alleged mismanagement involving illegal migrant workers and illegal gambling dens that led to the new virus outbreak.
The interior minister, the labour minister and Gen Prawit, who supervises the Labour Ministry, will also face the grilling over this. Capt Thammanat Prompow is said to be a target but the allegations against him are not clear.
Mr Jurin, leader of the Democrat Party, is likely to be grilled over the alleged hoarding of face masks in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic while Mr Niphon, also a Democrat minister, will face questions over the controversial Chana industrial complex in Songkhla that faces strong resistance from a coastal community.
Insert: Prime Minister Prayut talking to the press recently. Photo: National News Bureau of Thailand