Opposition tables general debate bid
Seven parties seek to grill government
The opposition bloc on Friday submitted a motion seeking a general debate without a vote to grill the government over an array of issues from price hikes to political reform failure.
Led by the Pheu Thai Party, seven opposition parties lodged the motion, signed by 173 MPs, with House Speaker Chuan Leekpai. It was submitted under Section 152 of the charter and would take place without a vote.
Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew said the debate would cover four main topics: the rising cost of living, Covid-19 and African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks, political reform failure, and flawed management of key policies.
The opposition would seek at least 36 hours for the debate, expected to take place in the middle of next month, tentatively Feb 16-18, said Dr Cholnan, also the opposition leader.
Asked if the planned debate would trigger any change, the Pheu Thai leader admitted he did not believe it would elicit change in the House of Representatives.
Under Section 152 of the charter, no vote is cast when a general debate concludes.
However, he said the opposition aims to tell the public the facts surrounding current problems, and that this would put more pressure on the government. He noted that complaints were coming from various professions.
"We hope the government will listen to us and to the people. The government should consider changes if they are for the better. The cabinet is the most important problem," he said.
Mr Chuan said the general debate is likely to be held in mid-February and the government and opposition will have to discuss how to allocate debate time.
In the motion, the opposition said the country was suffering its worst hardship since the 2014 military takeover.
Reasons cited include policy flip-flops and inadequate relief measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, causing the economy to nosedive and adversely affecting the tourism sector.
It also criticised the government for trying to cover up the ASF outbreak, as well as failing to address environmental problems, especially air pollution.
Political reform and decentralisation were stagnating as the government lacked the political will to push ahead while elections were marred with vote-buying, it claimed.
The fight against graft and efforts to combat drug problems were faltering, according to the motion, thus justifying the effort to grill the government and seek solutions.