Wissanu keeps mum on incomplete oath

Wissanu keeps mum on incomplete oath

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha leads cabinet ministers to swear an oath before Their Majesties at Dusit Throne on July 16. (Pool TV photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha leads cabinet ministers to swear an oath before Their Majesties at Dusit Throne on July 16. (Pool TV photo)

Wissanu Krea-ngam, the deputy prime minister for legal affairs who always have answers to all legal challenges against the Prayut-led government, has uncharacteristically kept mum about the accusation cabinet ministers took an incomplete oath when they were sworn in on July 16.

Future Forward party-list MP and secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul brought up the issue in Parliament during the policy statement debate of the joint meeting of the House and the Senate on July 25.

The former law lecturer questioned the legitimacy of the prime minister and cabinet ministers after they failed to take the oath in full.

Section 161 of the 2017 constitution prescribes: “Before assuming duties, cabinet ministers must swear an oath to His Majesty the King as follows:

“I (name of minister) swear I will be loyal to His Majesty and perform my duties honestly for the benefits of the country and the people. I will also uphold and comply with the constitution of the kingdom in every aspect.”

However, a video clip on the oath-taking showed Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, reading from a note in his hand, and the ministers who repeated the oath after him, left out the last sentence.

Several academics including Jade Donavanik, a former adviser to the 2017 Constitution Drafting Committee, a former public prosecutor, a rector and a former election commissioner, agreed the oath-taking was incomplete without the last line and the legitimacy of the cabinet was now open to question.

Mr Piyabutr stressed the importance of the oath-taking in his July 27 Facebook post.

“The oath-taking is a requirement before a person takes public office unless waived by His Majesty the King. It also reaffirms the principle the constitution is the highest law — all who take offices set up constitutionally must take a similar oath, which always ends with that last sentence," he wrote.

Mr Wissanu on Thursday said he would rather not answer the questions when asked by reporters whether the incomplete oath would affect the cabinet or whether the prime minister must seek a royal pardon. “One day you’ll know why we shouldn’t talk about it,” he said.

When a reporter asked him to explain for “knowledge’s sake”, Mr Wissanu said: “This is not ‘knowledge’ but something no one should stick his nose into.”

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