By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PRIME MINISTER PRAYUT Chan-o-cha was today (July 22) held accountable for a “foolish waste” of the taxpayer’s money amounting to 21 billion baht involving the navy’s planned purchase of a Chinese-built submarine without engine.
During the last day of a four-day censure debate, Pheu Thai MP Yutthapong Charatsathian alleged that Prayut who concurrently acts as defence minister had failed to save as much as 21.7 billion baht in down payment which the navy had already paid to China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. for its Yuan-class S26T submarine.
Yutthapong commented that the enormous loss had practically resulted from the “foolishly wasteful” deal which included a 12.4 billion baht price of its first Chinese boat whilst the people’s economic woes have not yet been solved by the Prayut government.
Nevertheless, the Chinese shipbuilding firm has earlier announced Germany’s MTU396 engine will not be available for use with its submarine as specified in the purchase contract.
The navy which has earlier planned to buy three Chinese submarines of the same type has provided a 60-day time ending next month to officially respond to the earlier specified requirement for the installation of MTU396 engine for the S26T submarine the delivery of which was earlier rescheduled for 2024.
Prayut earlier commented that the purchase contract for the Chinese boat could probably be scrapped for whatever reasons including a snag in the Chinese shipbuilder’s procurement of the engine from Germany which has reportedly imposed an embargo on exports of weapon systems and supplementary equipment against Asia’s superpower.
Navy chief-of-staff Adm. Thalerngsak Sirisawat has turned down a Chinese-made engine which has never been as yet used by any world navies and insisted that only the German engine be accepted as specified.
Navy chief Adm. Somprasong Nilsamai has indefinitely put off the planned purchase of the two other submarines of the same type at a combined cost of 22.5 billion baht due to budget constraints and the sustained pandemic situation.
Top: Pheu Thai MP Yutthapong Charatsathian raising the issue of engineless Chinese submarine.
Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha speaking at today’s censure debate. Both photos: Matichon