Pheu Thai loses its mojo
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Pheu Thai loses its mojo

The latest public opinion poll by the King Prajadhipok Institute is just another survey showing the atrophy of the Pheu Thai Party.

The poll, released on Sunday, shows that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is in fourth place, with 8.7% support, among seven potential premier candidates if a general election were to be called soon.

The Move Forward Party (MFP), meanwhile, would win 208 parliament seats, almost twice as many as Pheu Thai's estimated 105.

As predicted, Pheu Thai executives dismissed the study. Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai described the survey -- with a plus or minus 5% margin of error -- as "just another one of the far too many polls" that he could not distinguish. Mr Srettha, despite mentioning respect for public opinion, said he did not want to put the blame on the delayed fiscal budget disbursement.

The poll reflects Pheu Thai's struggles, which have failed to return it to its former glory. What voters remember are Mr Srettha's overseas trips and local visits. There is nothing wrong with our PM travelling overseas or behaving like a salesman as long as he brings home real projects. So far, our PM has only profusely promised that foreign investors will bring funds to invest in Thailand.

At home, the government's digital wallet scheme has yet to make inroads, and so too have mega infrastructure projects like the Land Bridge in the South. The digital wallet, touted as a flagship economic stimulus, is suffering from a lack of funds.

But those are not the only problems.

Critics, including experts and local vendors, question whether the 500-billion-baht handout will benefit the local economy or just enrich retail shops owned by big companies.

A Pheu Thai plan to raise the daily minimum wage to 400 baht has also suffered setbacks as the tripartite wage committee refused to accommodate the initiative.

Its "soft power" policy -- a successor to the former creative economy scheme --has failed to make a splash. Voters see only plans to stage cooking, Thai boxing, tourism, culture and fashion events without having the potential benefits explained to them.

It is undeniable that Pheu Thai ruined its own image when it dumped the MFP and joined hands with conservative parties linked to coup makers.

But the heart of the matter is that Pheu Thai has never recovered. The party keeps shooting itself in the foot.

The justice ministry's treatment of former PM Thaksin by letting him serve jail time on the 14th floor of the Police General Hospital is simply disgraceful. What is more shocking is that convict-on-parole Thaksin may not even be able to rescue the party now.

His attempt to broker peace in Myanmar drew risks. His trips to the provinces only attracted the same elderly supporters. Thaksin is becoming irrelevant to young voters and even some of his peers, who crave more excitement in politics to match the daring of the MFP.

The cabinet reshuffle, which resulted in three ministers resigning, only made matters worse. Mr Phumtham shot himself in the foot with a plan to sell 10-year-old rice from Yingluck Shinawatra's rice-pledging scheme.

Politicians, regardless of political affiliation, should serve the people and make Thailand a country of hope. So, it would be desirable to see Pheu Thai's executives wake up and actually think and act properly.

The party seems to be on its way to losing its political mojo for good.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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