Abhisit apologises for Bangkok governor's flood remark

Abhisit apologises for Bangkok governor's flood remark

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on Tuesday apologised to Bangkokians on behalf of fellow party member and Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, whose flippant remark suggesting people move to the hills to avoid flooding enraged the public.

The heavy downpour on Tuesday caused flooding in several business districts in Bangkok. The Bangkok Metropolitan spent several hours draining the water and, the next day, MR Sukhumbhand during a press conference that residents who could not cope with the water should "go live on a mountain".

The comment spread widely on social media, inciting public anger. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told MR Sukhumbhand to communicate better with residents so they gain a better understanding of flash floods.

MR Sukhumbhand later said he "was joking" when he said it.

The Democrat Party on Tuesday published a message from its leader offering an apology to Bangkok residents. Mr Abhisit said Bangkokians had suffered from the floods, so they expected the BMA to resolve the problem.

"The Democrat Party, in its capacity as direct supervisor of the Bangkok governor, apologises to all people for the wording used at the press conference by MR Sukhumbhand that upset a large group of people," Mr Abhisit wrote.

"I understand that it was not easy to solve problems in such a situation and the Bangkok governor might have been tired or stressed. However, a politician volunteers to work for the people, so he has a duty to work and be patient in the face of obstacles, including reporters' questions," he continued.

Mr Abhisit believed that the Bangkok governor did not intend to make the public angry, but he could not avoid taking responsibility for doing so.

"As the Democrat leader, I am sorry for Bangkok residents who trusted the party and voted for the Bangkok governor from our party for four consecutive terms," he said.

Mr Abhisit promised that the Democrats and Bangkok's governor would do better in solving problems for city residents and be more careful with their public comments.

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