By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE STAKE FOR A LAST-DITCH EFFORT to help Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha survive tomorrow’s (Sep 4) vote of confidence has been literally doubled, sources said today.
A sum of 10 million baht in cash bribe was today offered to each government MP in exchange for their continued support for Prayut in the vote of confidence, following four days of censure debate at parliament, said the sources closely connected with Palang Pracharath MPs.
That compared to five million baht in kickback allegedly offered to each government MP yesterday in return for their vote of confidence for the embattled Prayut.
The attempted bribery has allegedly taken place in the room specifically reserved for the premier behind the meeting chamber at parliament.
The cash kickback was allegedly provided by ”a few business tycoons” who were known to have fostered close connection with high-level government figures and agreed to salvage the embattled premier, the sources said.
During yesterday’s censure debate, Prayut categorically dismissed the kickback scandal related to the latest hush-hush bid to help him survive the post-censure vote of confidence, saying he would never manage such ”insane” activity.
Palang Pracharath Party leader Prawit Wongsuwan, who concurrently performs as deputy premier, categorically denied money was being handed out to the government MPs to help the premier make it through the vote of confidence.
Palang Pracharath Party secretary general Thammanat Prompao, who concurrently acts as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister, declined to comment on the kickback scandal and said he has not met with Prayut lately.
Thammanat was tight-lipped over hearsay that he might be reshuffled out of the Prayut cabinet sooner than later amidst reported misgivings among the rank and file of the ruling coalition party.
The kickback scandal emerged at parliament after a major faction of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party finally decided to pressure Prayut into stepping down in the face of his alleged failure to cope with the pandemic crisis, resulting in high surges in infection cases and fatalities nationwide.
During yeterday’s censure debate, Pheu Thai MP Wisarn Techathirawat took the floor to launch the allegation that the kickback was being offered in the premier’s room behind the House meeting chamber, prompting House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to set up an ad hoc committee to immediately investigate the scandal for the sake of the honour and prestige of the legislative branch.
Street protests by anti-Prayut demonstrators have occurred over the last several weeks, including yesterday and today, in sustained, concerted bid to mount pressure upon the premier in parallel to the marathon, heated censure debate at parliament.
Top: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha took his face mask off at one point of today’s censure debate.
Home Page: Palang Pracharath Party leader Prawit Wongsuwan denied money is being given to MPs. Both photos: Siam Rath