Parliament set to debate budget bill
House Speaker Chuan Leekpai says parliament will convene on Aug 18-20 to deliberate the budget bill for the 2022 fiscal year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
He and Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai agreed that parliament would postpone its meetings scheduled for this week and Aug 4-5 due to surging daily infections.
As for the meetings slated for Aug 11-19, Mr Chuan said he would review the schedule again because Aug 12, which is the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother, is a public holiday.
This means there will be only one day left for the meeting, he said.
If the pandemic eases, parliament can still convene for a one-day meeting on Aug 11. But if the number of infections continues to soar, he will decide whether the meeting can take place that day, Mr Chuan said.
The committee scrutinising the budget bill is likely to ask him to put its second and third readings on parliament's agenda on Aug 18-20. That means parliament will have to convene on those days to consider the bill.
Since several airlines have not yet resumed services, MPs in the provinces may have to travel by car to attend the meetings in Bangkok, Mr Chuan said, adding that when they arrive at parliament, they must go through strict health screening.
Asked if there are any bills affected by the postponement, Mr Chuan said that a bill presented by the Commerce Ministry had now been passed while another bill was pending deliberation. Yet another had not yet been accepted in its first reading.
Asked if it is possible for opposition parties to table a no-confidence motion against the government, Mr Chuan said he was told that a motion would be submitted to parliament next month. If it is presented to parliament, the motion can be put on parliament's agenda straight away, he said.
Mr Chuan said he received a report from the secretary of the House of Representatives that 12 parliament staff had been infected with Covid-19 so far.