Renegade FFP MP defends move

Renegade FFP MP defends move

In this May 13 file photo, Kawinnath Takey (right) joins other LGBT MPs of the Future Forward Party — (from left) Nateepat Kulsetthasith,Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit) — in submitting a letter to the House speaker seeking a permission to dress according to their gender identity at Parliament in Bangkok. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
In this May 13 file photo, Kawinnath Takey (right) joins other LGBT MPs of the Future Forward Party — (from left) Nateepat Kulsetthasith,Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, Tanwarin Sukkhapisit) — in submitting a letter to the House speaker seeking a permission to dress according to their gender identity at Parliament in Bangkok. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

The Future Forward Party MP who voted against his party’s position on the 2020 budget bill on Saturday says he did so in his constituents’ interests.

Kawinnath Takey, 28, who represents Chon Buri’s Constituency 7, spoke up for the first time on Monday after facing heavy online criticism over the weekend.

The House of Representatives passed the budget bill in its first reading with 251 votes in favour, none against, 234 abstained and one did not cast a vote. 

All opposition MPs present abstained, except for Mr Kawinnath, who voted in favour.

The former corporate lawyer, who is among the LGBT wing of the progressive party, later shuttered his Facebook page following numerous attacks.

The criticism intensified because this was not the first time Mr Kawinnath voted against the party’s stand.

On Thursday, FFP was the only party voting to turn down the royal decree on the transfer of two military units to the royal service administration. Mr Kawinnath was among the three FFP MPs who voted in favour.

Mr Kawinnath said his constituency — tambons Khao Mai Kaew, Pong, Nong Prue and Huai Yai of Bang Lamung district — had a lot of problems and he decided to vote in favour of the budget bill because he expected better cooperation from government officials in his constituency in solving them.

“People complained to me and I couldn’t help them. When I tried to contact responsible officials to solve their problems, nothing happened. So I thought what should I do to ease the conflicts and show them [officials] that we’re not at odds.” 

He added in his view, the budget bill was only in its first reading. “There are some points in the bill that we all agree and disagree with. Changes are going to be made in the second and third readings. If by the third reading, we [FFP] still think it’s unacceptable, I’ll definitely go along. Please judge me then,” he said.

After the first reading, an extraordinary committee — 15 members from the cabinet, 24 from the opposition and 24 from the coalition — will be set up to scrutinise the budget details and make changes that all can accept.

The 2020 fiscal year began on Oct 1 but the second and third readings of the budget bill will not be held until Jan 8 and 9. The second reading will discuss the bill by section and the third will determine whether the bill will be passed in its entirety.

If the bill is turned down in the third reading, it will be scrapped and according to tradition, the government must show responsibility by resigning and dissolving the House. 

Mr Kawinnath insisted he was not bribed to vote the way he had done.

“The coalition already had enough votes so why would they bribe me? Some people say I accepted 10 million baht for it. I dare them to produce evidence.”

He admitted attempts had been made earlier to buy FFP MPs for up to 50 million baht each.

“If I were to leave FFP, I would have done so back then. Why would I settle for 10 million baht now?” he asked.   

He insisted he was all for FFP and would not voluntarily leave it or resign as MP.

Constitutionally, an MP may join another party during parliamentary terms only when he has been expelled from it or his party disbanded, not when he voluntarily leaves it.  

Mr Kawinnath added he had told someone senior in the party whom he wouldn’t name how he would vote both times. 

Mr Kawinnath won the constituency in the March 24 election with 31,247 votes, followed by MPs from Palang Pracharath (28,001) and Seri Ruam Thai (7,708).

Earlier on Monday, party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul stressed the fact that Mr Kawinnath voted against the party’s positions twice in three days.

“This is a disciplinary breach by party regulations. A panel would be set up to look into his case and send its findings to the party’s executive board.

“Before each House vote, all MPs would meet to discuss and decide on our collective stand. All MPs would normally vote in that direction except in cases where it is an extreme violation of an individual’s religious beliefsor other valid reasons,” he explained.

In the meantime, Mr Kawinnath will be banned from party activities until a decision is made on his case, Mr Piyabutr said.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (12)

Papal visit

Pope Francis meets PM Prayut at Government House, where he calls for migrants to be made welcome and women and children to be protected from exploitation.

13:38

US legislation on Hong Kong: what it does

SHANGHAI: The US House of Representatives has passed legislation to back protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights, sending two bills to the White House where President Donald Trump is expected to sign them into law.

12:58

Hong Kong campus stalemate persists as US bill annoys China

HONG KONG: Hard-line anti-government protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

11:46