PM rejects opposition claim he bungled economy
It is unfair for the opposition to cite Covid-19's impact on the economy as evidence of government mismanagement, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.
Gen Prayut was rebutting allegations made by the opposition on the second day of the four-day no-confidence debate.
The PM said that no countries will have high gross domestic product (GDP) during the pandemic, so there is no point in the opposition's attempt to make Thailand's expected low GDP seem a disaster.
While the government was working hard to clear up deep-rooted problems, the pandemic struck and now requires substantial efforts and resources to manage, Gen Prayut said.
It's also unfair to claim that all the government could do is keep borrowing money while achieving nothing in return, he said.
Several large infrastructure development projects have been carried out and funded by those loans over the past six to seven years.
They are expected to pay off in the years to come in terms of economic stimulation, he said.
The plan to reopen the country in 120 days has been piloted and the government will proceed with the plan even though it will have to be implemented only partially due to the Covid-19 situation, he said.
Gen Prayut, however, admitted the country's economy may recover slowly as it relies heavily on tourism, which has been pummelled by the pandemic and is expected to take a long time to return to normal.
The PM said he was deeply disappointed about the opposition using distorted and false information to support its allegations against him and the government.
In the anti-government protests, for instance, he said, the opposition claimed protesters weren't using any weapons when they actually were, he said.
"I always have respect for several good people [in the opposition camp] who always put the public interest ahead of their own. As for some who only think about themselves and aim to destroy us, please stop," he said.
Julapun Amornvivat, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Chiang Mai, was the first opposition MP to debate against Gen Prayut on Wednesday.
Mr Julapun presented figures to back his allegations that the government has failed miserably in managing the country and its economic situation.
The mismanagement, he said, would result in a recession that will last at least two years.
He added that since the government has administered the country, many businesses have had to shut down.