Opposition warned over mentioning Shinawatras

Opposition warned over mentioning Shinawatras

Thaksin Shinawatra greets supporters beside his daughter Paetongtarn at Don Mueang airport after he returned to the country on Aug 22, 2023. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Thaksin Shinawatra greets supporters beside his daughter Paetongtarn at Don Mueang airport after he returned to the country on Aug 22, 2023. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The opposition camp can raise issues related to paroled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his daughter, Pheu Thai Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra, during the general debate at its own risk, said government chief whip Visuth Chainaroon.

Speaking before the two-day debate beginning on Wednesday, Mr Visuth said the presiding House Speaker and his deputies will enforce meeting regulations throughout the debate, including warning MPs when they make inappropriate references to political outsiders.

However, if they continue to mention third parties like Thaksin, Ms Paetongtarn or any political outsiders who cannot defend themselves, they might face legal repercussions, he said.

"If no damage is caused, it should be fine, but if [the allegations] cause damage, it's normal for the damaged parties to take legal action," Mr Visuth said.

"MPs must be prepared to face the consequences. MPs have been sued for making references to other outsiders, not just Thaksin," he said.

Mr Visuth also criticised the allocation of debate time as unfair as government MPs and cabinet ministers are only given six hours while the opposition gets 22 hours.

The general debate will take place on Wednesday and Thursday under Section 152 of the constitution, with no censure vote to be cast.

The opposition, led by the Move Forward Party (MFP), submitted a motion on March 13 calling for the debate to grill the government for failing to implement core policies that it declared in parliament over six months ago.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Sorawong Thienthong said on Monday the ruling party has not set up a team of MPs to defend anyone in particular but they will protest and ask the chair of the meeting to intervene if the opposition violates House rules.

He echoed Mr Visuth's remarks about the debate time, saying the government will ask for a reallocation of the time because the session is a general debate, not a confidence one, and government MPs should be allowed proper time to make suggestions.

The MFP, meanwhile, is urging the public to tune in to watch it.

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