Pheu Thai MPs moan: No work, no pay

Pheu Thai MPs moan: No work, no pay

Former Pheu Thai MPs, once oozing largesse and living la dolce vita courtesy of the deep-pocketed Thaksin Shinawatra, are crying poor-mouth today now that they are no longer on the party payroll.

Since the May 22 coup, the party has withheld their salaries and they are hurting financially, a party source revealed on Sunday.

The source said the party decided it need not pay the former constituency and party-list MPs as they were unemployed since the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) ordered a ban on political meetings or activities.

The party also feared it could be dissolved if it continued to pay members, the source said. The NCPO might view the payments as an attempt to defy its ban by offering finance to members to conduct political acts against the coup-makers.

But some ex-MPs of more modest means argue they still have to interact with the people and potential voters in their areas, especially for social events which they cannot ignore, such as weddings, funerals, ordinations and merit-making.

They had to hand over money in envelopes to the hosts of the events in the form of sin nam jai (gift of goodwill), which is a local custom.

Many MPs are complaining about the financial impact on them since the party stopped paying them five months ago, the source said.

"The party used to give 100,000 baht to constituency MPs and 50,000 baht to party-list MPs," a former member said on sunday.

"Now we put less money in the envelopes, having previously given 1,000 baht, it's now 500 baht. It’s good, though, that the villagers understand, but it's tough for MPs who don’t have other businesses."

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