PM refuses calls to join election debates
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday rejected politicians' calls for him to take part in policy debates, saying he is too busy with his work to waste time engaging in political rhetoric.
Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting, Gen Prayut said he saw no need to take part in debates, and insisted he was not afraid to face a grilling from other politicians.
"But most debate forums are full of political onslaughts without discussions of substantive issues ... I won't take part, no matter how anyone challenges me. I am not angry and not afraid. But I am busy with my work. It will be a headache and a waste of time to come up with eloquent language for use in debates," Gen Prayut said.
"If you want to know my vision. I already have it -- stability, prosperity and sustainability under King Rama IX's sufficiency economy principle. That's my vision," the prime minister said.
He said that during the past five years, the government has worked on implementing reforms in various areas and several national agenda items. The government has come up with a 20-year national strategy and other relevant master plans. "Isn't this my vision?" he asked.
In response to Gen Prayut's refusal to take part in debates, Chaturon Chaisang, chief strategist of the Thai Raksa Chart Party, said this was not in the least surprising.
He claimed Gen Prayut was not brave enough to take part in debates as he only wanted to take advantage of other parties by subjecting people to his monologues.
Pheu Thai Party spokeswoman Ladawan Wongsriwong said people will miss out on the opportunity to hear what the prime minister has to say about his vision for the country's future.
Gen Prayut should be confident about what he has done in five years and should explain this to the people, she said.
Deputy Democrat Party leader Nipit Intarasombat said Gen Prayut was used to giving instructions rather than being questioned.