Thanathorn named consultant of budget bill panel

Thanathorn named consultant of budget bill panel

Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit joins the House committee to review the fiscal 2020 budget bill at Parliament in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Pornprom Sattrabhaya)
Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit joins the House committee to review the fiscal 2020 budget bill at Parliament in Bangkok on Thursday. (Photo by Pornprom Sattrabhaya)

Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana has been voted chairman of the House committee on the fiscal 2020 budget while Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has been named its adviser.

The extraordinary committee met for the first time on Thursday after the budget bill passed its first reading on Saturday.

The 63-member extraordinary committee comprises 15 nominated by the cabinet and 24 each by the opposition and the coalition. Unlike the 23 House permanent committees of which members must be MPs, a House extraordinary panel may consist of MPs or outsiders.

Earlier, some coalition MPs opposed Mr Thanathorn’s role in the committee. They said since he was suspended from MP duties by a court order, it is inappropriate for him to sit on such an important panel.

The Constitutional Court suspended Mr Thanathorn from performing MP duties after the Election Commission accused him of holding media shares in violation of election laws.   

But at the panel's meeting on Thursday, Mr Thanathorn’s status was not even discussed or questioned.

The committee voted Mr Uttama as chairman and 19 thers as his deputies.

The only debate involved the secretary position after the opposition nominated Dejpiwat Na Songkhla, director of the Budget Bureau, but he later withdrew.

The panel finally named as many as 13 secretaries and 14 spokesmen.

The meeting debated the timeframe of the budget bill consideration. The members from the coalition wanted it to end by Dec 9 but the opposition members want it extended to Jan 19.

The member agreed to meet from 1pm to 10pm on Monday and Tuesday; 9am to 6pm on Wednesday and Thursday; and 9am to 4pm on Friday, starting on Monday.


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