The revised 'blanket reprieve' amnesty bill will be debated in parliament one week earlier than originally scheduled, the chairman of the House amnesty bill vetting committee announced on Monday.
The two-day debate will start this Thursday, as opposed to next Wednesday, Samart Kaewmeechai said.
The debate could take place earlier because officials had finished preparing documents required for the meeting, he said, denying that government was attempting to rush the controversial bill through parliament.
Mr Samart said the 35-member vetting committee is expected to hold another two meetings before it submits a report to parliament by the end of the month. The second reading of the bill is likely to proceed early next month.
The Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai insisted the draft legislation would not allow former premier Thaksin Shinawatra to reclaim seized assets worth 46 billion baht.
However, under the proposals, Thaksin would be absolved of charges in criminal cases relating to the Sept 19, 2006 coup.
If Thaksin wanted to reclaim his 46 billion baht, Mr Samart said, he would have to exercise his rights through the courts after any amnesty law is enacted.
Mr Samart admitted the new version of the amnesty bill was opposed fiercely by dissidents, but said he did not believe conflict relating to the issue would shorten the government’s term.
Meanwhile, Weng Tochirakarn, Pheu Thai list-MP and core red shirt member, warned his party that the red shirts only accepted the amnesty bill proposed by Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema in its original form, which did not propose to grant amnesty to Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and Surat Thani MP Suthep Thaugsuban for their role in the 2010 violence.
Pheu Thai should respect the “will of the red shirts” who want authorities responsible for the 2010 crackdown to be held accountable and review the revised bill accordingly, he said.