Activist urges probe against 7 MPs who met Thaksin
Activist Srisuwan Janya has asked the national anti-graft agency to probe at least seven opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai Party who were seen having lunch with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Singapore this week, accusing them of breaching parliament's code of ethics.
They deliberately broke the code by making a trip to Singapore to meet Thaksin, now a fugitive living in self-imposed exile, and such conduct may undermine the public's faith in their ability to maintain their duty as representatives of voters, said Mr Srisuwan, who serves as secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution. He, therefore, petitioned the National Anti-Corruption Commission to probe this alleged misconduct and take legal action against MPs if they are found guilty, he said.
His action followed media reports about the meeting that allegedly also included Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who is also a fugitive ex-prime minister.
The seven MPs in the photo with Thaksin published by local media include Kriang Kantinan, a key Pheu Thai figure in the Northeast; Chuwit Phithakphonphanlop, a Pheu Thai MP for Ubon Ratchathani; and Somying Buabut, a Pheu Thai MP for Amnat Charoen.
Thaksin and Yingluck have reportedly been staying in Singapore since last Sunday for an annual physical check-up, a source said, adding they were scheduled to stay until Saturday.
The reported meeting has sparked criticism over whether it was appropriate for this group to meet, given the fact that Thaksin absconded from a jail sentence for several crimes.
These include the two- three-digit lottery misconduct case, the 4-billion-baht Exim Bank loan scandal and the Shin Corp share-holding nominee case.
Mr Kriang, meanwhile, claimed the meeting between himself and the other MPs and Thaksin was not planned, describing it as more of a "coincidence".
"I went there on March 7 and spent a night before I bumped into Thaksin at the restaurant. He happened to be there with his younger brother, Payap Shinawatra," said Mr Kriang.
"We were travelling in a group of more than 20 people and we came across Thaksin. We didn't make any appointments to meet him," he said. "And Mr Payap wasn't waiting for us there in Singapore even though we all ended up returning home on the same flight."
Mr Kriang also claimed he and the MPs who met Thaksin and Yingluck did not discuss politics.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said the MPs' itinerary and meetings in Singapore had no connection to or bearing on the party.