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Government accused of infighting, putting Thailand’s recovery at risk

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/PR Thai Government
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Both opposition politicians and members of the coalition have come out to say infighting between various government figures and organisations is putting Thailand’s recovery at risk. The Thai Enquirer carries a report in which government critics say up to 4 different government organisations disagree over the best way out of the pandemic.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the Bangkok governor’s office, and the Public Health Ministry are all accused of infighting over how best to lead Thailand out of the Covid-19 crisis. The PM has been in open disagreement with his Public Health Minister, Anutin. It was his ministry that, at the start of the week, were loudly crowing the roll out of walk-in vaccination centres around the country. Just days later PM Prayut scotched the programme, even as centres were being readied.

The governing coalition is a 3-way ideological tug-of-war between the conservative/military MPs (Palang Pracharat), the Democrats and Anutin’s Bhumjaithai Party who ran at the 2019 general election mainly on a platform of reforming Thailand’s cannabis policies.

Critics say the impact is having a negative impact on the national vaccine rollout.

Speaking to the Thai Enquirer, Pichai Narithapan from the opposition Pheu Thai party calls the behaviour “unprofessional” and has described the government response to the pandemic as a “failure”.

“We have to accept that the government’s management of Covid-19 and vaccines is a failure, so now people in government are trying to pin the blame on one another. Why doesn’t the government communicate with each other?”, according to the article in Thai Enquirer.

“The whole world is doing walk-in vaccinations and if you want to get as many vaccines out as possible, you need to do walk-ins, which is perfectly normal. I understand that Anutin is right to do this, and after announcing this, it was then shot down by Prayut. Why didn’t they communicate with each other first before Prayut came out to belittle Anutin like that?”

Rangsiman Rome from another opposition party, Move Forward, agrees…

“It reflects what MFP has been saying for a long time, which is that the problem is not that the government does not have the power to handle the crisis, but it has a problem of working in unison.”

Even members of the ruling coalition have voiced concerns about the infighting and its impact on the country’s recovery. Panich Vikitsreth from the Democrat Party tells the Thai Enquirer that if the feuding carries on, it will affect the government’s reputation and its messaging. He adds that his party would then need to take a good look at its coalition membership to determine if it wants to remain there.

“We are facing both a Covid and an economic crisis, so one of the most important things that the government must have is unity. How can we expect the public to have confidence in the government’s strategy to fix the problems at hand when there is infighting between the party that is managing the Ministry of Public Health and the Prime Minister himself?”

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

 

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