Govt team to check for royal slurs

Govt team to check for royal slurs

MFP denies debate will target monarchy

The coalition government has formed a legal team to monitor the upcoming censure debate for inappropriate references to the monarchy, said a key government figure on Monday.

Suporn Atthawong, vice minister to the PM's Office, said Thossapol Pengsom, a legal adviser to the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), has been assigned to monitor any discussions about the monarchy and file legal complaints against opposition MPs for violating the lese majeste law.

He said the legal team will also gather false allegations made during the debate against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and cabinet ministers and lodge complaints with police.

He said the move is triggered by the opposition's no-confidence motion which contains serious accusations against the government as well as wording that refers to the monarchy.

The opposition camp has turned a deaf ear to calls from concerned parties for it to revise the wording in the motion, he noted.

Picharn Chaopattanwong, a list-MP of the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) and an opposition whip, yesterday defended the no-confidence motion, saying it focused on the roles of Gen Prayut and nine cabinet ministers, not the higher institution as alleged by the government.

He added that even House Speaker Chuan Leekpai insisted the motion did not violate House regulations.

The MFP MP said the opposition will also set up a debate war room to coordinate with MPs and deal with the government's attempts to block the opposition MPs from scrutinising the government.

The motion, which was lodged on Jan 25, has yet to be put on the House agenda, though the debate is tentatively scheduled to take place from Feb 16-19.

Wirach Ratanasate, chief government whip and a PPRP list-MP, said the government will coordinate closely with the opposition to ensure that the debate is wrapped up before midnight on the last day.

He said the government wants the debate to be concluded within four days so a vote can be cast on Jan 20.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday Gen Prayut has moved up the weekly cabinet meeting on Feb 16 to Feb 19 in preparation for the upcoming no-confidence debate.

Mr Wissanu said the motion is expected to be forwarded to the cabinet for acknowledgement today.

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