PPRP admits to quorum gaffe
The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) on Thursday admitted that Wednesday's cancellation of a House sitting on national reform for failing to achieve a quorum has damaged parliament's reputation, but added the mistake wasn't that serious.
Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, in his capacity as a PPRP executive, said party leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwon had stressed the need for all PPRP MPs to pay more attention to their duties.
Gen Prawit was concerned the incident could stain the reputation of the House and spark public criticism, Mr Buddhipongse said.
He said the party MPs missing from Wednesday's House sitting arrived at parliament late because they didn't think a quorum count would be called during a period reserved to acknowledge the minutes of a past meeting.
A quorum count during such a period rarely occurs, said Mr Buddhipongse who was at Wednesday's sitting.
He said he was surprised the quorum count was called at that exact moment.
Asked if the party will punish the MPs not in the chamber during the quorum count, he said, Gen Prawit had asked the government whips and senior PPRP figures to make sure government MPs' attend all House sittings in future.
If anyone cannot attend a sitting, they must inform the government whips in advance, he said.
Gen Prawit only responded briefly to questions about Wednesday's incident, saying he doesn't have to tell those MPs what to do as they all know what their duties are. He said they were all at parliament on Wednesday but not in the chamber.
Opposition chief whip Sutin Klungsang said the opposition parties will boycott the next House sitting if the government bloc refuses to withdraw its national reform report from the next House deliberation.
The opposition has made it clear since Wednesday that the report was unacceptable because it contains false information about the government's claimed success on national reform and was unconstitutional, he said.
"Of course a quorum is the responsibility of the entire House, but the government has to admit to its fault in this case," he said.
House Speaker Chuan Leekpai told all MPs to pay more attention to meeting schedules to prevent a repeat of Wednesday's incident.