Opposition to show proof against targets

Opposition to show proof against targets

At least seven cabinet ministers will be grilled during an upcoming censure debate when the opposition is expected to provide evidence to back the charges to be levelled against the government.

Chief opposition whip Sutin Klungsang said the opposition parties have "receipts", or proof of wrongdoing, to show the government has engaged in policy-oriented corruption and played a part in creating structural conflicts.

Mr Sutin said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government also stands accused of damaging the country through mismanagement and causing hardship to the people.

When asked how many ministers will be grilled, he said: "Several. At least seven."

He said that this week opposition partners are expected to finalise who will be censured based on the information they have gathered. They are expected to meet again on Sunday to discuss their debate strategy and allocation of time.

The opposition camp plans to lodge a no-confidence motion, the second of its kind, against the government on Monday. Issues like the trafficking of illegal migrant workers and the establishment of illegal gambling dens, which are blamed for the current Covid-19 outbreak, are likely to be among the key talking points.

The coalition government has proposed four days for the planned censure debate, tentatively from Feb 16 to 19 with a vote on Feb 20. The current session ends on Feb 28.

Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, leader of the opposition Seri Ruam Thai Party, said the government's failure to crack down on illegal gambling will be one of the issues to be raised during the planned censure debate.

The former police chief said his information will deliver a serious blow to the prime minister who was criticised for saying "even a hundred prime ministers will not be able to rid Thailand of illegal gambling dens".

"I made a crusade against illegal gambling dens long before I was the national police chief. What did the prime minister mean when he said things like that? Did they make the arrests or not?" Pol Gen Sereepisuth said.

"So, sit back and wait for the debate," he added.

He said he has yet to decide if Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon would be grilled in the upcoming debate.

Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat said Gen Prawit, Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee are among the targets.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP for Nan Sirinthorn Ramasut on Friday denied media reports that she and a fellow MP would be defecting to the Palang Pracharath Party following their meeting with deputy labour minister Narumon Pinyosinwat.

Ms Sirinthorn said she sought the meeting with Ms Narumon after learning that the minister was in charge of job-training projects in Nan province. She said she was accompanied by Pathum Thani MP Pornpimol Thammasan and defection was not part of their discussion.

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