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Government loses another MP as member heads to prison

The Thaiger

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Government loses another MP as member heads to prison | The Thaiger

Another blow to the ruling Palang Pracharath party and coalition after the MP for Kamphaeng Phet province, Pol Lt-Col Waipote Arpornrat, lost his Member of Parliament  status after the Supreme Court upheld the 4 year prison sentence handed down by the Appeals Court for his involvement in the disruption of the ASEAN Summit in Pattaya back in 2009.

As the Supreme Court is the final arbiter in the case, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngarm said that Pol Lt-Col Waipote immediately loses his parliamentary membership and is not protected by parliamentary immunity.

12 former leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, including Waipote, were sentenced to 4 years in prison for their roles in leading hundreds of red-shirt protesters in the storming of the Royal Cliff Beach Resort in Pattaya, where the ASEAN meeting was being held, resulting to the abrupt cancellation of the summit and evacuation of all ASEAN leaders.

Meanwhile, a Palang Pracharat party source said that the party might field Waipote’s son, Mr. Petchapoom, to contest the by-election in Constituency 2 of Kamphaeng Phet province.

Whilst the four year sentence may appear severe for the protests at Pattaya a decade ago, the Deputy PM, and one of the key government figures, Wissanu Krea-ngarm took no time in condemning his actions and announcing that he loses his parliamentary position. Meanwhile, Wissanu has shown much great leniency towards the Palang Pracharat ‘fixer’ Thammarat Prompao, the MP for Phayao province, over his 4 years spent in prison in Australia for heroin drug trafficking.

Captain Prompeao has dismissed the Australian court papers revealed in a Sydney Morning Herald article last Monday as heresy and exaggerations. In parliament yesterday, he told parliament that the reports and court records were wrong.

The Palang Pracharat coalition of some 19 minor parties can ill afford to lose any more MPs as it nears a dangerous minority government situation where opposition MPs outnumber the coalition, leaving the government open for a no confidence vote.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Politics

Thai MP rich list

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Thai MP rich list | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has published a who’s who list of Thailand’s richest politicians. The NACC has reported the personal finances of 80 MPs.

The personal finances report is an addition to the NACC’s previous report of 415 MPs who had earlier submitted their asset lists in July.

Notable MPs whose assets and debts have been revealed include Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Future Forward Party; Pannika Wanich, the FFP spokesperson, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, the FFP secretary-general; Parina Kraikup, an MP of Phalang Pracharat Party from Ratchaburi province, and Mongkolkit Suksintharanon, a party list MP and leader of Thai Civilized Party.

The two reports combined found Thanathorn was the wealthiest MP, with 5.63 billion baht in assets and 683 million baht in debts (shared with his spouse.) The second richest was Bhumjaithai party-list MP Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, with a shared 4.67 billion baht in assets and 177 million baht in debts (and wife of the inexperienced Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn). Third on the wealth list is Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anuthin Chanwirakun, another Bhumjaithai party-list MP, who with his spouse claimed 4.19 billion baht in assets and 50 million baht in debts.

Satun MP Phibul Ratchakitprakarn, also of Bhumjaithai Party, had 2.38 billion in assets shared with his spouse. Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, coming in fifth place, was the richest MP in the government coalition-leading Phalang Pracharat Party, claiming with his spouse 2.19 billion in assets.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thai MP rich list | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: The Nation

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ASEAN

Prayut heading to New York for six day trip, including attending UN

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Prayut heading to New York for six day trip, including attending UN | The Thaiger

Thai PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha and his entourage is leaving for New York to attend the 74th United Nations General Assembly tomorrow.

But the PM isn’t travelling alone. The six day trip to the US will also be made by Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa (and half a plane of ‘others’).

According to a schedule released to the media, Prayut will also attend two meetings in his capacity as this year’s chairman of ASEAN to represent ASEAN and Thailand’s roles in the international arena.

He will attend a high-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage to show Thailand’s strong leadership with its national health scheme. The PM will also emphasise Thailand’s push to put universal healthcare on the world agenda.

Prayut will also attend the UN Climate Action summit and the Sustainable Development Goal summit. He is expected to say that ASEAN will accelerate development of the region and emphasise the role of local people as the centre of development projects based on the “sufficiency economy” philosophy, and that ASEAN would cooperate with the US and other nations in implementing development projects.

The Thai PM will assure the Asia Society that Thailand would cooperate with various countries on security, economic, social and environment projects, while the Kingdom also prepared to transform itself into an aged society and to develop smart cities and get its human resources ready for digital disruption.

During the meeting with the USABC, the PM will emphasise the strong points of the Eastern Economic Corridor project.

During the trip, Prayut will also meet and hold bilateral discussions with several foreign leaders, including Australian PM Scott Morrison, UN Secretary General António Guterres, as well as Tijjane Muhammad Bande, the chair of the 74th UN General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Prayut will attend a 9am banquette host by the UN secretary general for national leaders and their spouses. In the afternoon, he will attend the SDG Summit, as well as an evening banquette held by the US president and first lady for foreign leaders and spouses.

On Wednesday, Prayut will deliver a speech to the Asia Society at noon and attend a dinner meeting with executives of the USABC at night. The PM and his entourage are scheduled to fly from New York at noon on Thursday, landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport at 9.55pm on Friday.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Politics

Future Forward secretary-general floats idea of another debate

May Taylor

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Future Forward secretary-general floats idea of another debate | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Party leader of Future Forward Party – AFP

Future Forward secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul says the Opposition will consider the option of holding another parliamentary debate over the next 3 months.

His statement comes after what was  generally considered an unsatisfactory response from the PM and other cabinet members during Wednesday’s debate.

Piyabutr is not ready to let the matter go, claiming the PM’s performance sets a bad precedent for future Thai leaders when it comes to respecting the oath recital requirement.

He adds that he’s not satisfied with the lack of clarity from Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm during this week’s debate, accusing him of being deliberately unclear by saying the issue of the oath-taking was a matter between the cabinet and the Monarchy.

For his part, Wissanu says he’s happy with how the debate went, but refused to discuss the Opposition’s threats of legal action against him and the PM, nor would he be drawn on the accusation of involving the monarchy in the oath debacle, which was levelled at him by opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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