Opposition asks 'salesman PM' if he's closed a sale

Opposition asks 'salesman PM' if he's closed a sale

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin replies to opposition criticism during the general debate on the government's performance, in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin replies to opposition criticism during the general debate on the government's performance, in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

The opposition launched a two-day general debate on the government's performance on Wednesday, with a key opposition MP asking Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin if he made himself the country's number one salesman - and if he had closed any sales.

Democrat MP Jurin Laksanawisit said the government was now seven months into its four-year term of office, but he did not see any concrete achievement.

"This is because this government uses marketing-driven administration. Images are made, but behind the images all sectors mostly agree that there is no concrete achievement," he said.

"Daily there are events, in the morning, late morning, at noon, in the evening and late at night. Thais are choked with events," the Democrat MP said.

Mr Jurin referred to the prime minister's trips to 14 countries and Hong Kong over the past six months. Over 180 days, the prime minister was abroad for 52 days, he said.

"The prime minister has tried to play a salesman's role. That's good. I have no objection. But the question is whether (the prime minister) as the salesman of the nation has closed a sale," the veteran politician said.

Mr Jurin, a former commerce minister, also asked about the government's recent announcement that the prime minister's roadshows in 14 countries over the past six months would draw foreign investment worth 558 billion baht over the next decade.

The opposition MP wondered if the expected investment would ever materialise.

Mr Jurin also questioned the government's recent announcement that a major electronic dance music festival, Tomorrowland, would be brought here. He said the organisers had later politely rejected the announcement.

"Thais prefer real deals over marketing. What has not been finalised should not be publicised," he said.

Prime Minister Srettha told the House that over the past six months the government had been busy solving problems such as informal loans, farm debt, energy prices and illegal drugs.

The prime minister said his government was increasing people's incomes through many measures,  including the visa-free scheme with China.

In addition, the government was seriously attempting to reduce smog, and it was obvious the number of hotspots was declining substantially, he said.

Mr Srettha defended his frequent trips overseas. Almost half of them were necessary because they concerned the country's role as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, he said 

As for the other trips, he needed to introduce himself as the new prime minister of the country.

Thanks to some of the trips, the government was making good progress in its free trade negotiations with other countries, he said.

Democrat MP Jurin Laksanawisit speaks during the general debate. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

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