The government and the opposition are both calling for a halt to the parliamentary session in light of the new wave of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Opposition chief whip Sutin Klungsang, from the Pheu Thai Party, said the opposition had yet to discuss whether to agree with the deferment motion tabled by House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, but it will be discussed by party leaders from the government side and the opposition whip tomorrow. Mr Sutin, however, said he personally thought that the parliamentary session should be called off or postponed if the situation worsened. The House could be at risk as MPs and their entourages come from all over the country, he said.
The government chief whip added Covid-19 was affecting the work of MPs, which would have an impact on the whole country if the situation was prolonged. The opposition might consider censuring the government via other means such as online forums, he said. Chartthaipattana party-list MP Nikorn Chamnong, in his capacity as secretary-general of a committee considering a charter draft, said the chairman, Wirat Rattanaseth, from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, had not yet cancelled its meeting next week.
Mr Nikorn said at the meeting on Monday between the government and opposition whips he would support suspension of the parliamentary session. The committee could ask parliament to convene an extraordinary session if necessary, he said. Mr Nikorn, however, said online sessions of parliament were not supported by any law and the committee could not proceed using such technology. The current session is due to end on Feb 28.
Key motions which have not yet been considered include a motion asking the Constitutional Court to rule on the Senate's duties and power regarding charter amendment, a censure motion and a motion to review a draft amendment of the Criminal Code on the removal of kratom from the Type V narcotics list. During the first wave of Covid-19 in May 2020, the House reopened for its session on May 22 despite the outbreak as the charter does not allow House meetings to be deferred.