Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin will donate all of his income from the monthly salaries and meeting allowances paid to him throughout his tenure to various foundations in the country, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said yesterday.
Mr Chai said the prime minister, who also serves as finance minister, is doing this due to his belief in the power of "giving" and leading by example, while the government has started implementing its policies to create opportunities for the well-being of the Thai people, reducing social disparities and enabling more children to pursue their education.
Mr Srettha's monthly as prime minister and finance minister amounts to 125,590 baht -- a 75,590-baht salary plus a 50,000-baht position allowance. These earnings will be conveyed through foundations to people in need. This is a quicker way of giving help than by relying on the normal legislative process via the parliamentary system, the spokesman said.
Mr Chai said there will be a working team to select the foundations that will receive the prime minister's monthly donation. The first donation will go to the Foundation for Children, he said.
Mr Srettha will also try to meet charity foundations to listen to their problems and find ways of solving them, said the spokesman.
"It is my personal determination. No, please don't pressure others [to follow what I do]," the PM told the media yesterday.
Mr Srettha said other ministers don't have to donate their salaries, adding he did not want to publicise or make a big deal of it.
Sarinee Achavanuntakul, an independent academic, said she wanted Mr Srettha to change his mind because accepting the salary meant he must devote himself to serving the public.
The donated salary could also make other ministers uneasy, he added.
Sqn Ldr Sita Divari, a member of the Thai Sang Thai Party, said Mr Srettha could make such a pledge due to his vast personal wealth.
Pichit Chuenban, an adviser to the prime minister, said that as the salary received was considered the premier's personal property, donating to charity and needy people is acceptable.
On a personal note, Mr Pichit said he thought the donation was intended to show Mr Srettha wants to work for the country and does not expect anything in return, which would position him as an exemplary role model for other politicians.