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A barrage of accusations against the government as general debate begins

Written by Thailand News

The general debate against the government began today with leader of the opposition Chaithawat Tulathon opening with a barrage of accusations against the administration, from its failure to keep its election promises, under-performance and lack of sincerity to undermining the justice system through double-standards and ignoring its policy statement presented to parliament over six months ago.

Citing a tangible example, Chaithawat said that the much-hyped “digital wallet” scheme, which the government claimed would stimulate the Thai economy, is yet to become a reality and may hurt the economy in the long run by increasing public borrowing.

He said the people had expected to see the justice system reformed, but what they got was unprecedented internal conflict involving top-level police officers and widespread corruption in government bureaucracy.

The people want to see a political system that can take the country forward, but what they have is completely different, said the Move Forward party leader, adding that democracy is heading backward, with political and economic power being wielded by just a handful of influential figures.

Chaithawat said the people expected Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to be different from his predecessor, but they find him lacking in leadership and confusion over who is actually in charge in the government.

Responding to Chaithawat’s accusations, the prime minister said he found the opposition leader’s opening speech full of pessimism about the government, accusing it of such things as failure, incompetency, going backwards and being destructive, among others.

He explained that the government is transparent and genuine in driving the country forward economically, politically and socially and is ready to provide clarifications if the opposition doubts any of its policies.

He said the government has set up a committee to tackle informal debt, a committee to oversee energy and power prices and is determined to crack down on illicit drugs, as manifested in the seizures of large quantities of drugs by the police.

In the agricultural sector, the prime minister claimed that the prices of rubber and rice under his administration has increased substantially, while the Commerce Ministry has been trying to explore new markets for Thai agricultural products.

Then he defended his multiple overseas trips, saying that they were intended to put Thailand on the world’s map, to explore trade and investment opportunities for Thailand, adding that the fruits of the government’s efforts are not evident now and will take time to be realised.

Allocation of debate time between the government and opposition MPs remains unchanged, after a last-minute discussion today. The opposition will have 22 hours, the government will have eight during the two-day debate.  There will not be a vote.

 

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