Overwhelming 'yes' vote for exec decrees

Overwhelming 'yes' vote for exec decrees

MPs move to tackle impact of lockdown

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak arrive at Parliament for the debate on three executive bills on Wednesday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak arrive at Parliament for the debate on three executive bills on Wednesday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Three executive decrees have sailed through parliament after a five-day marathon debate.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai on Sunday called MPs to vote on three decrees worth 1.9 trillion baht in total to tackle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

For the first decree that authorises the Finance Ministry to borrow about 1 trillion baht to fund the government's economic and social rehabilitation in the aftermath of the pandemic, 274 out of 481 MPs voted in favour, with zero against, and 207 abstained.

For the second decree worth 500 billion baht which provides financial support for affected SMEs, 275 out of 481 MPs voted in favour, with one against and 205 abstentions.

For the other decree worth 400 billion baht which aims to maintain financial stability, 274 of 482 MPs voted in favour, with 195 against, 12 abstentions, and one failed to cast a vote.

Another executive decree on electronic meetings was also approved with 270 of 457 MPs voting in favour, 11 against and 176 abstentions.

The vote came after Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed accusations from opposition parties that the package lacked transparency, stressing he is open to public scrutiny of the government's use of borrowed money to revitalise the economy.

"As for project proposals, graft has not been found yet," Gen Prayut said adding that there are many agencies which can launch investigations.

"This 1-trillion-baht portion requires the same procedure as general disbursement.

"Independent constitutional organisations can also launch probes. The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council will create a website for the public to follow up on projects."

Gen Prayut insisted he did not oppose the motion calling for the special House committee to monitor government spending on the post-Covid-19 recovery of the country.

Meanwhile, former deputy prime minister Chaturon Chaisang said the prime minister failed to explain the balance between maintaining public health safety and loosening up Covid-19 restrictions so the economy can be revived.

Mr Chaturon added the premier has not shown how the massive relief spending will be scrutinised for transparency. He also did not come across as being keen to set up a House committee to monitor the spending.


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