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MP queries appointment of army general to oversee Covid-19 in southern Thailand



PHOTO: Twitter/Sunai

An MP from the Bhumjaithai Party has called on the PM to review his appointment of an army general to oversee the Covid-19 situation in the south of the country. MP Suphachai Jaismut has questioned the appropriateness of appointing Nattaphon Narkphanit, formerly secretary-general of the National Security Council.

“My point of contention is that the PM is adopting ‘security as the first priority’ to deal with a public health issue which, I think, is inappropriate. I have no problem with the individual, but I have a problem with the logic.”

Thai PBS World reports that Nattaphon has been put in charge of a new command centre to deal with Covid-19 outbreaks in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat. The permanent secretary of public health, various senior health officials, and permanent secretaries from other government ministries are all part of the command centre, leading Suphachai to question if the PM does not trust his own public health officials.

The Bhumjaithai MP goes on to suggest that the Emergency Decree, which is still in force, having been extended multiple times, should be replaced by the Communicable Disease Act. He alleges that the PM is clinging on to the decree in order to keep his grip on power, citing his takeover of a command centre dealing with the Covid-19 crisis in Bangkok earlier this year. Suphachai goes on to imply that the takeover did nothing to resolve the crisis.

“We have had the experience of a military officer taking the lead over doctors. So, what is the result?”

According to the Thai PBS World report, the Bhumjaithai MP says he’s aware that his past criticism of the PM has annoyed the Thai leader, but that, as a member of parliament, he has the right to express his views on behalf of the people. He goes on to remind the PM of the importance of decentralisation under a democratic system, adding that appointments should be based on who is most qualified for the role, in order to best serve the public.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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