PPRP ministers ready for parliament meet
Veteran politicians to train novice entrants
Nakhon Ratchasima: Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) leader and Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said his ministers are ready to explain their policies and face questions over their eligibility in the two-day parliamentary session on government policy to begin on Thursday.
"All PPRP ministers have been told to prepare themselves for the debate. They are ready to explain the government policies they are responsible for and clear doubts regarding their eligibility. We have already set up a war room so there is nothing to worry about," Mr Uttama said.
The PPRP met on Sunday in the Wang Nam Khieo district of this northeastern province to prepare its ministers and MPs for the policy debate.
At the meeting, party MPs were briefed on a set of 12 urgent policies which will be implemented by the government during its first year in power as well as long-term policies which will be carried out over the next four years, Mr Uttama added.
The two-day policy debate session will see as many as 80 opposition MPs line up to debate government policies and cabinet ministers' eligibility.
The opposition will be given 13.5 hours, while ministers, MPs, and senators in the coalition camp will have five hours each in the debate which is expected to last about 30 hours.
PPRP party-list MP Virat Rattanaset -- speaking on behalf of the chief government whip-- said about 70 MPs and ministers of the government camp, 25 from PPRP, 15 from Democrat Party and 15 from Bhumjaithai Party have shown interest in taking part in the debate.
"MPs in the government bloc are very active. Both old and new faces want to participate in the debate but there is a time limit on each side, so the time must be allocated carefully," he said.
Mr Virat added the government whip will hold training for new ministers and MPs joining in the debate.
Veteran politicians, including MPs who have had a number of stints in the legislature will advise them on debating techniques.
Despite the prospect of a heated debate, Mr Virat said there is no need to set up a "guard team" of MPs to defend the government.
However, he urged opposition MPs to focus on the policies and not controversies surrounding Gen Prayut's eligibility which have already been clarified.
Mr Virat said he believes MPs are mature enough to decide on what they should and should not do. He also said that Gen Prayut can control his emotions.
The policy debate will be the first time Gen Prayut -- who is known for his quick temper -- takes part in a policy debate in parliament as a politican, after his all-powerful mandate as head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) over the past five years ended.
Meanwhile, there are rumours claiming that Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon will join the PPRP's meeting in Nakhon Ratchasima and will also apply to be a member of PPRP today.
In response, Mr Uttama said he had not heard the news.
"I've heard that Gen Prawit will have an inspection tour in Nakhon Ratchasima," Mr Uttama said.
"If he visits our meeting to give moral support, we will be happy," he added.
Mr Virat said Gen Prawit has the right to join any party as his mandate in the NCPO has already ended.