Ex-Pheu Thai MP defends red bowl plan

Ex-Pheu Thai MP defends red bowl plan

Sirinthorn Ramasut, a former Pheu Thai MP for Nan, has insisted there was nothing wrong with her foiled plan to distribute thousands of red bowls to Pheu Thai and Thaksin Shinawatra supporters during the upcoming Songkran festival.

Ms Sirinthorn said yesterday it was traditional to distribute the red bowls to party supporters during Songkran. However, she said she understood why authorities would want to seize the nearly 9,000 bowls stored in her office.

She also confirmed she had been contacted by military officials in Nan requesting a meeting to discuss the matter of the red bowls. The former MP said she had agreed to meet the officials but had asked for the appointment to be pushed back to Saturday as she was busy at the moment with her child's school enrolment in Bangkok.

The seized bowls bear a message from former premier Thaksin, who fled the country in 2008 just before being sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of power while in office.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd warned on Monday that politicians who continue to cause disorder will be forced to attend a seven-day re-education course at military camps across the country, including in the far South.

Ms Sirinthorn responded to the warning yesterday saying she was willing to attend the course and would appreciate the fact she would probably be among the first to take part in it.

Cholnan Srikaew, another former Pheu Thai MP for Nan, said the military also has made contact with him following the seizure of Ms Sirinthorn's red bowls asking him to attend a meeting at a military camp. He said he would be able to attend on Friday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has again spoken out about the red bowls. "This type of bowl is useful. I don't hate red but the [real intention behind the bowl distribution plan] is unacceptable," he said yesterday while stopping to speak to visitors at Government House.

According to a security source, the red bowls were meant to have cash attached to them when being handed to recipients, with the main objective of the bowls being to call on supporters to vote "no" in the upcoming charter referendum.

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