Absent senators to get meeting alerts
Senators will be sent messages alerting them to attend Upper House meetings whenever numbers in the chamber run low, according to Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.
The senators have come under fire after a photo showing a half-empty Senate meeting went viral on social media. The meeting in question was believed to be recent.
The issue was raised at on Monday's Senate meeting, which acknowledged the new cabinet having received royal endorsement. A total of 225 out of 250 senators signed in to attend Monday's meeting.
Senator Wanchai Sornsiri said members of the Upper House had been branded as lazy by netizens after the photo was circulated on social media.
This was despite 60 senators attending Senate committee meetings at the time, while some were at lunch, Mr Wanchai said, adding the photo hurt the Senate's reputation.
Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said he instructed parliament officials to send messages via the Line application to alert senators whenever there was low attendance at meetings.
Mr Pornpetch also said parliamentarians failing to attend a required number of meetings would be penalised.
However, Mr Pornpetch added that the time of parliamentarians is not limited to the main chamber because they also have to attend committee meetings.
Suthin Klangsaeng, a Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, agreed senators were seen to be neglecting their duty and should shape up.
However, Mr Suthin is not in favour of stringent rules to get senators to turn up for meetings as they are all grown-ups.
"They have know when or if it is really necessary to leave the chamber... so that they don't miss anything important," he said.