Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has abused his authority and served ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra's interests, Democrat MP Sathit Wongnongtoey charged.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung during the no-confidence debate in parliament. Ms Yingluck, Mr Chalerm, Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat and Deputy Interior Minister Pol Lt Gen Chatt Kuldiloke were grilled by the opposition during the debate. NATTHITI AMPRIWAN
Mr Chalerm, who is in charge of the Royal Thai Police, had behaved poorly in public and seemed incapable of distinguishing his boss's interests from those of the public he should be serving, Mr Sathit told the no-confidence debate in parliament yesterday.
The Democrat MP for Trang accused the deputy prime minister of opposing a plan to strip Thaksin of his police rank of lieutenant colonel.
He said Thaksin should have lost his rank following his 2008 conviction in relation to the Ratchadapisek land purchase case. Thaksin was sentenced in absentia to two years in jail in 2008 by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders after he was found guilty of abusing his power to buy land in Ratchadapisek for his former wife Potjaman na Pombejra.
"It is unlikely that someone with a PhD in law [a reference to Mr Chalerm] does not understand the matter," Mr Sathit said. "He is abusing his power to serve an individual rather than the public interest."
Denying the claims, Mr Chalerm said Thaksin was prosecuted under procedures that were not internationally accepted.
The former prime minister, who lives in self-exile in Dubai, was ousted in a 2006 coup. Mr Chalerm has claimed the court verdict was politically motivated, as it was tainted by the coup.
He said the Royal Thai Police resolved not to strip Thaksin of his rank as the verdict handed down against Thaksin had not affected the dignity of the police.
Mr Sathit showed a video clip featuring Mr Chalerm scolding police at Thong Lor police station on Oct 12, 2000 over a fight involving his youngest son and a group of teenagers.
Mr Chalerm was drunk and had intimidated police and reporters, the opposition MP said. He questioned the suitability of Mr Chalerm to oversee the Royal Thai Police. The minister had been notorious for his behaviour, including getting drunk during a parliament debate, Mr Sathit said.
His remarks drew protests from Pheu Thai MPs.
They argued that Mr Sathit had made Thaksin the target of his attacks when he should have been debating the minister's performance.
Mr Chalerm denied he had tried to push for an amnesty bill to help Thaksin as alleged by the Democrats. He also insisted he had no authority to revoke Thaksin's police rank. "How could I arrest Thaksin? It's not my duty," Mr Chalerm replied. "As for your claim that I pushed for an amnesty bill to help him, show me the documents to back up your remarks," he told the House.
The Democrats have renewed their claims that Thaksin should lose his rank since their leader started facing pressure to lose his own military rank.
Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat has decided Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva should be stripped of his rank for allegedly falsifying documents to dodge the draft as a young man.
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- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa