Prayut urges public to monitor debate
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday urged the public to closely monitor the upcoming censure debate and decide for themselves who they should believe.
Gen Prayut, the chief target of the three-day debate scheduled to kick off on Monday, said the public should look for evidence or reasons if they hear certain claims against him and the government, because fake news appears to be everywhere.
The prime minister said he has had to deal with many criticisms and legal complaints since assuming office, but insisted he can clarify his actions. He also stressed that he will not evade any accusations.
Prayut: Decide for yourself
Gen Prayut said the government has tried to address the country's problems over the past five years while laying the foundations for future generations. He said collaboration and solidarity are necessary to make such efforts bear fruit.
Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesman of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), said Gen Prayut is capable of defending himself against any allegations.
Mr Thanakorn was responding to Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Anudit Nakhontap's claim the prime minister was nervous about the debate and set up a team of "guardians" outside parliament to launch counter-attacks.
He said Gen Prayut did not order the establishment of the team, which was formed by a group of PPRP members, to handle attempts to discredit the premier by Pheu Thai heavyweights such as Chalerm Ubumrung, who is in charge of the main opposition party's special affairs committee, and Pheu Thai chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan.
He said the "war rooms" were set up as an information support team for the PPRP and the government. He said the opposition also has "war rooms" outside parliament because Mr Chalerm and Khunying Sudarat, staunch critics of the government, are not MPs.
"If the opposition doesn't play by the rules and hits below the belt, we'll get them," he said.
Thosapol Pengsom, head of the PPRP's support team, said the party has done its homework and is ready to respond to unfair criticism.
"When you have a test, you don't come unprepared. We've prepared information, not because we're worried, but for the public who must know the facts," he said.
Khunying Sudarat will meet party MPs at parliament today to help them rehearse the censure debate, said Mr Anudit.
Mr Anudit said Khunying Sudarat and other party veterans such as Pokin Polakul and Pongthep Thepkanchana will coach party's speakers to deliver an effective debate.
According to Mr Anudit, 14 MPs will speak in the debate and a few more may participate while the Pheu Thai team is led by Maha Sarakham MP Yutthapong Charassathian.