Chuvit swears he's acting on his own
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Chuvit swears he's acting on his own

Special interview: Whistleblower to step up campaign against graft, cannabis policy linked to Bhumjaithai Party

Whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit has declared war against Bhumjaithai Party's cannabis policy and encouraged voters to join his crusade against allowing recreational use of cannabis at the coming poll.

In a special interview with the Bangkok Post, the former politician vowed also to expose more alleged corruption in the Ministry of Transport particularly in the Orange Line project which he believes is linked to Bhumjaithai.

Declaring war

His remark followed initial allegations last week against the party in which he said the free cannabis policy was misguided, and that a lot of corruption has been going in the ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the Bhumjaithai leader, and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who is also secretary-general of Bhumjaithai, are Mr Chuvit's targets.

Before he turned his focus on Bhumjaithai, Mr Chuvit was regularly in the limelight exposing information about high-profile criminal cases including the Chinese transnational criminal syndicate linked to Chinese-born businessman and suspected crime boss Chaiyanat "Tuhao" Kornchayanant.

The former massage parlour tycoon confirmed it was him who supplied the opposition with information about alleged corruption in the ministry which they brought up in the recent general debate against cabinet.

It targeted Mr Saksayam, who was on Friday suspended by the Constitutional Court pending a ruling on his alleged concealment of shares in a construction firm.

The general debate, however, would not be enough to stop Bhumjaithai from returning to power again at the election, with the help of its free cannabis policy despite the harm it inflicts, he said.

"Look at the shops along Khao San Road, in communities and elsewhere in the provinces, you will see kids smoking pot openly and the police can't do anything due to ambiguity in laws used to control cannabis use," said Mr Chuvit.

Bhumjaithai should have waited until a more specific law is passed before it pushed to remove cannabis from the list of narcotic drugs via a ministerial regulation, he said, adding the reason why the party couldn't wait until then was because it wants to boast about the free cannabis policy in its election campaign.

"The irony is while the United Nations still considers cannabis a narcotic drug and Thailand has joined the UN's pact on narcotics control, the country suddenly decriminalised cannabis using a single ministerial regulation," he said.

He blamed Mr Anutin and Newin Chidchob, believed to be the de facto leader of Bhumjaithai, for the negative impact of freeing cannabis use on parents whose children are abusing cannabis as a recreational drug.

Mr Chuvit said he isn't against medical cannabis at all, but he couldn't help wondering why a police lieutenant general close to the Chidchob family sat on a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) committee approving the ministerial regulation decriminalising cannabis.

PM Prayut accused

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha didn't do anything to stop the free cannabis policy of Bhumjaithai because he was too afraid to lose his job, said Mr Chuvit.

"But I for one will be launching attacks on them [Bhumjaithai] right before the election and will see how people think about the free cannabis policy then," he said. "Don't vote for the party if you do not agree with the policy."

He wonders how farmers are supposed to benefit from the cannabis policy as claimed by the party when most, if not all, cannabis sold in the country now is imported from California, he said.

If Bhumjaithai eventually wins the election and returns as government, he would accept it as his defeat. "From now on, I will be campaigning against free cannabis while supporting medical cannabis. I have no hidden agenda in doing this because I'm not a politician any more," he said.

He was responding to an accusation by former media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul that Mr Chuvit was being paid by the Pheu Thai Party to attack Mr Anutin and the Chidchob family.

Mr Chuvit also referred to allegations he made earlier about irregularities surrounding the Orange Line project bidding. He said he had information to prove that a group of five people were lobbying and manipulating things behind the scenes.

According to Mr Chuvit, one of the five was a man who had previously lobbied for a construction company to be awarded ownership of plots of land in several parts of the country even though these plots are intended for poor farmers.

Mr Chuvit also accused the Chidchob family of unlawfully owning more than 5,000 rai of land in Khao Kradong Forest Park of Buri Ram, which includes the spot where the Chang Arena football stadium and an international race circuit are built, while 35 other people who had occupied forest land in that area were all evicted under a 2018 Supreme Court ruling.

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