After four days of debate, and vicious attacks from the opposition, Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and five of his Cabinet easily won a vote of confidence from the House of Representatives this morning.
MPs of the Pheu Thai Party, the largest opposition party, who walked out of the chamber near the end of the debate last night after it failing to persuade the House to extend the debate time, boycotted the vote, as did most of the opposition, except for MPs of the now-defunct Future Forward Party and the Seri Ruam Thai Party, who didn’t vote, following an apparent rift among the opposition parties.
The PM got 272 votes of confidence as opposed to 49 votes against him. His votes numbered five fewer than the 277 votes of confidence garnered by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prom-pow received the least votes of confidence at 269.
A breakdown of the vote of confidence is below:
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha 272-49 (2 abstentions)
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan 277-50 (2 abstentions)
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam 272-54 (2 abstentions)
Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda 272-54 (2 abstentions)
Foreign Minister Don Pramudvinai 272-55 (2 abstentions)
Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prom-pow 269-55 (7 abstentions)Facebook page.
PM asks cabinet for emergency decree
PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha formally asked the Thai Cabinet this afternoon for the declaration of a national emergency to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand. The decree, which the Cabinet is currently discussing, will likely be enacted for a month. A decision is expected to be announced later today.
The decree would allow authorities to impose curfews, ban domestic travel and close any building without a warrant, and would give the government the ability to censor and shut down media if deemed necessary.
Proponents of the decree say it will help bring the situation under control, while critics fear the decree could be used to further the government’s power and limit individual rights.
Prayut proposed the enactment of the 2005 Royal Decree of Emergency Situation during today’s Cabinet meeting. If approved, the decree will be enacted from Thursday to April 30. A news conference is expected later this afternoon.Facebook page.
Health minister denies racist tweets
“Many farang dress dirty and don’t shower. As hosts we have to be very careful.”
Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul certainly knows how to grab the spotlight: just days after messages posted on his Twitter account caused a social media uproar and prompted the account to be shuttered, he has denied making the tweet. In a short interview with the BBC, Anutin claims he didn’t post the now infamous “Dirty Western Foreigner” tweets late last week.
Writing in two Twitter posts on Thursday night, which were later deleted, the account said “farangs,” (slang for Caucasians) “never shower” and pose health risks to the Thai population.
Anutin, who previously grabbed national attention when he lost his cool on television after a Caucasian foreigner rejected his attempts to give him a mask, says he has “no issues” with Europeans and foreigners, and even has many white western friends.
He told the BBC that the tweets, which seemed to blame the outbreak of the virus on Western Europeans while stating that Chiang Mai was better when it had many Chinese tourists and not “Bad and dirty Europeans” was not his.
He claims that many people had access to the account and that the account was closed down because the the incident is under investigation, adding that his full attention is on fighting the novel Covid-19 Coronavirus and ensuring Thailand does not have a full scale epidemic like several other countries, and his team, not he, is administering his social media.
Reaction on social media has been extremely harsh, with many western foreigners and full time expats expressing outrage over the comments.Facebook page.
PM urges unity in the face of adversity
In a nation battered by drought, a slowing economy and the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has appealed to the public to unite and join the government in its efforts to overcome.
In a public statement yesterday, the PM said some of the measures adopted by his administration to cope with the threat of coronavirus contagion are different from those of other countries, due to differences in population, demographics, climate and other factors, but added that the government has obtained help and adopted practises from abroad.
Prayut urged all sectors of society, including the mainstream and online media, the public and the business sector, to support the government in its attempts to contain the virus, instead of bickering over minor issues, publishing false or distorted information, or accusing the Government of failure in addressing the virus threat, drought or other problems.
He defended against criticism that Thailand is not democratic and that his administration does not embrace democracy, asking whether the government has ever gagged the media.
Regarding the nation’s drought its worst in 40 years, the government claims officials are working at full capacity to find sources of water to meet demand for consumption and agriculture.
Regarding the economy, the PM said Thailand still relies on exports and tourism to drive the economy, pointing out the need for Thai people adjust to changing circumstances and technologies.
He assured the public that the government is doing its best for the people, but would like them to cooperate in the fight to contain the virus by avoiding panic, keeping themselves in good shape and trusting that the government will prevail over the current problems.
SOURCE: Thai PBS WorldKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
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