Prayut puts off visit to Sa Kaeo

Prayut puts off visit to Sa Kaeo

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's planned trip to Sa Kaeo province next Friday has been postponed after critics questioned whether it was a ploy to gather more support from politicians.

A government source, who asked not to be named, said the trip was proposed by the province for the premier to preside over the opening ceremony of a border checkpoint at Ban Khao Din in Sa Kaeo's Khlong Hat district.

It has been postponed as Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen is not available to attend on the proposed date.

A new date has yet to be set, the source said, hinting that the premier will have another provincial trip on May 23 but did not say where.

The premier last week made a mobile cabinet trip to Surin and Buri Ram where he was greeted by 30,000 people mobilised by Newin Chidchob, whose stronghold is in Buri Ram.

Paisal Puechmongkol, an assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon posted on Facebook on Thursday that veteran politician Sanoh Thienthong, whose stronghold is in the province, had told media he would greet the premier during the visit.

Both Gen Prayut and Gen Prawit served in the area while in the army.

Deputy Prime Minister Chatchai Sarikulya confirmed Friday that Gen Prayut had planned to visit, but was unsure whether the plans had been changed or not.

Reacting to reporters' questions whether Gen Prayut and Mr Sanoh knew each other well, Gen Chatchai said he did not know whether they were close, but reiterated that Gen Prayut used to serve in the border province when he was a young soldier.

Gen Chatchai said the prime minister's movements should not always be viewed politically. The premier had ordered his deputies and ministers to visit people in provinces and learn about their problems. He would go himself if he is not too busy.

The prime minister Friday said at an event at Government House that his provincial visits had no political agenda.

He was speaking while presiding over a ceremony to sign an MoU on a "connection" between farmers and merchants in which rice grains of the Ko Kho 43 strain and rice milk will be sold to merchants under a deal to ensure there is a market for the products.

"Please acknowledge and spread word that when I go to provinces for a mobile cabinet meeting, I just meet people along the way, wherever I go. They are not a setup. I go to spots where people are waiting for me. I want to meet as many people as I can so that I can talk to them. I don't want to do improper things to be criticised," he said.

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