Opposition to target economy, corruption in censure debate

Opposition to target economy, corruption in censure debate

Sudarat: 'Grassroots hit hard'
Sudarat: 'Grassroots hit hard'

The opposition is ready to censure the government for its mishandling of the economy, policies it says benefit big businesses and alleged corruption in government agencies, according to Pheu Thai Party chief strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan.

The opposition will raise the issues in a special House session expected next month, she said, adding that the no-confidence debate will target certain cabinet ministers, though the opposition has yet to decide on specific individuals.

On the issue of the government's handling of the economic problems, the opposition will grill Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who heads a team of ministers in charge of economic affairs.

Khunying Sudarat said that the grassroots economy and small- and medium-sized businesses have taken a battering while big businesses have continued to grow.

She also cited the gloomy outlook recently announced by the National Economic and Social Development Council.

The government economic think tank said the economy grew by 2.4% year-on-year in the third quarter and slashed its 2019 GDP forecast to 2.6% from an earlier projection of between 2.7% and 3.2%.

The agency downgraded its export forecast for this year from a 1.2% to a 2% contraction.

Khunying Sudarat also pointed to alleged corruption which she said had benefited large companies in several projects under the government's Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

The opposition will also question the government over projects which fell short of stimulating the economy, such as the state welfare card scheme for low-income earners, she said.

Regarding corruption in state agencies, she said that several ministries will be in the crosshairs, but the opposition will focus its aim on the worst offenders.

Khunying Sudarat admitted that the no-confidence motion may not bring the administration down, though she hoped that the debate will expose irregularities and convince some coalition parties to abstain from voting in support of the government.

She said the debate will also enlighten the public as to how the government has fouled up its handling of the economy.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the coalition Bhumjaithai Party, denied talk of rifts in the government.

Mr Anutin, who also serves as public health minister, said that Bhumjaithai was ready to support cabinet ministers who are corruption-free. "We are in the same boat and we support the right things," Mr Anutin said.

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