Focus on "real issues"

Economic issues, not political, should dominate upcoming no-confidence debate, Rosana says.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva chairs a meeting of the government’s national reform committee at Government House yesterday as the coalition comes under fire over rising prices of basic commodities. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD


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Debate 'skips real issues'

Rosana slams Puea Thai for ignoring the people

Nattaya Chetchotiros

Senator Rosana Tositrakul

A leading Bangkok senator has attacked the opposition for "rambling on" about last year's political violence when there are far more pressing issues that affect the people to be discussed.

Senator Rosana Tositrakul said with the prospect of steeper consumer goods prices, the opposition could do better in the upcoming no-confidence debate than focus on last year's issues.

The Puea Thai Party is set to grill the prime minister and nine ministers in its proposed censure debate. But in radio programmes and online media yesterday, many people complained that the opposition party might do a better job if it focused on household economic issues.

The government whip said yesterday it would propose the debate dates be from March 9 to 12 before the no-confidence vote on March 13.

Ms Rosana said the opposition's censure motion submitted yesterday to the House Speaker and expected to take place next week, had wrong priorities. It revolves around the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and is not responsive to the current needs of the people affected by price hikes, she said.

She said the government's failed management of cooking palm oil and the prospect of soaring goods prices should dominate the no-confidence debate.

The cost of living, particularly food and consumer product prices, have risen sharply even though the Commerce Ministry maintained yesterday that inflation at 2.95% in the first two months of this year remained under control.

The debate which targets the political violence related to the red shirt protests and the prime minister's dual nationality is nonsense, she said.

"Don't turn this into a political soap opera," she said.

"Scratch where it itches if the opposition wants to make this debate worthwhile even though it may not be able to bring down the government.

"If the opposition does its job, it will give the government a hard time," she said.

Ahead of the censure debate, Prime Minister and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered every Democrat MP yesterday to make door-to-door visits in their constituencies and ask voters how they were coping with the steeper prices.

Within a week Democrat MPs were expected to drop by 2,500 households each and report their findings to Mr Abhisit in a party meeting.

Concerns have been raised following the request of producers of soybean oil, fertiliser and pasteurised milk to increase their prices yesterday. Commerce Minister Porntiva Nakasai, who is one of the targets of the censure debate, said soybean oil producers demanded a price increase of 19 baht for a one-litre bottle and producers of fertiliser and ready-to-drink milk sought a 10% price hike each.

The proposed hike for soybean oil would raise the price by 41.3% from the price cap of 46 baht to 65 baht.Mrs Porntiva warned about a possible shortage of sugar because the local price is well below the international price, which will lead to illegal exports.

Steeper fuel prices may further elevate frozen ready-to-eat seafood.

chair – to be the person in charge of a meeting, committee, or company ดำรงตำแหน่งประธาน, ทำหน้าที่ในฐานะประธาน
reform – a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป
coalition – a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together  พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล
under fire – being criticised strongly
commodity – a product or a raw material that can be bought and sold โภคภัณฑ์
skip – to not do something that you usually do or that you should do; to avoid ไม่เข้าร่วม, ขาด
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น
slam – to strongly criticise someone or something  วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
ignore – to intentionally not listen or give attention to ทำเพิกเฉย
senator – a member of the Senate ฒิสมาชิก
the opposition – the elected politicians who belong to the largest party which does not form the government พรรคฝ่ายค้าน
ramble – to talk about somebody/something in a confused way, especially for a long time คุยหรือเขียนเรื่อยเปื่อย
violence – physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
pressing – very urgent and important ที่เร่งด่วน
prospect – the possibility that something will happen  โอกา, การคาดการณ์
steeper prices – higher prices
consumer – someone who buys and uses goods and services ผู้บริโภค
goods – things that are produced to be sold สินค้า, สิ่งของ
upcoming – happening soon; available soon ซึ่งกำลังจะเกิดขึ้น, ซึ่งกำลังจะมา
no-confidence debate – censure debate; formally criticising a cabinet minister or the full cabinet in a parliamentary session after which members vote to support or reject the การอภิปรายไม่ไว้วางใจ
grill – to ask somebody a lot of questions about their ideas, actions, etc, often in an unpleasant way ซักถาม
media – radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group สื่อ
household – a group of people, often a family, who live together  ครัวเรือน
whip – an official in a political party whose job is to make certain that other members go where they are needed and that they vote in the correct way  วิป
propose – to suggest an idea for a group to consider เสนอ
motion – a formal proposal that people discuss and then vote on in a meeting or debate ญัตติ, ข้อเสนอเพื่อการอภิปรายในที่ประชุม
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
priority – something important that must be done first or which needs more attention than something else การมาก่อน
revolve around – having as a very important part or purpose มุ่งไปที่
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
responsive – reacting with interest or enthusiasm; reacting quickly and in a positive way ซึ่งตอบสนอง
current – of the present time ปัจจุบัน
price hikes – raising the prices of goods
management – the act or skill of dealing with people or situations in a successful way การจัดการ
soar – to rise very quickly to a high level มีความหวังสูง,พุ่งพรวดขึ้น
dominate – to be the most important thing มีอำนาจเหนือ
sharply – suddenly and by a large amount อย่างเร็ว
maintain – to insist; to keep stating that something is true, even though other people do not agree or do not believe it ยืนยัน,  ยืนกราน
inflation – a general rise in the prices of services and goods in a particular country, resulting in a fall in the value of money  เงินเฟ้อ
target – to direct something at someone or something ตั้งเป็นเป้าหมาย
protest – a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something ชุมนุมประท้วง
dual nationality – being a citizen of two countries at the same time ถือสัญชาติสองสัญชาติ
nonsense –  ideas, behaviour, or statements that are not true or sensible  ไม่มีสาระ, ไร้สาระ
soap opera – a story about the lives and problems of a group of people which is broadcast every day or several times a week on television or radio  เรื่องน้ำเน่า
scratch – to rub your skin with your nails  เกา
itch – to have an uncomfortable feeling on your skin that makes you want to scratch; to make your skin feel like this คัน
scratch where it itches – to focus on the important problem or problems
worthwhile – useful, important or good enough to be a suitable reward for the money or time spent or the effort made คุ้มค่ากับความพยายาม
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
cope – to deal successfully with a difficult situation รับมือ
concern – a worry ความกังวล
raise– to bring up a subject for discussion ยกขึ้นมาเป็นประเด็น
soybean – a type of bean that is used instead of meat or animal protein in some types of food  ถั่วเหลือง
fertiliser – a natural or chemical substance which is spread on the land or given to plants, to make plants grow well ปุ๋ย
pasteurise – to heat a liquid, especially milk, to a particular temperature and then cool it, in order to kill harmful bacteria ฆ่าเชื้อโรคด้วยความร้อนสูง
target –a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack เป้าหมาย
cap – an upper limit on an amount of money that can be spent or borrowed  ขีดสูงสุด, ครอบ
shortage – when there is not enough of something การขาดแคลน
illegal – against the law ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
export – to sell and send goods to another country ส่งออก
elevate – to make the level of something increase เพิ่มขึ้น

About the author

columnist
Writer: Terry Fredrickson
Position: Education Marketing and Support Manager