House speaker warns Thai MPs against ‘cobra’ behaviour in Parliament

Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, Photo via TPBS.

The President of the Parliament, Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, who also carries the title of House Speaker, has issued a stark warning to Thai MPs against breaching the peoples’ trust by becoming “cobras,” within the parliamentary chambers.

Speaking to attendees of a seminar addressing the roles and obligations of MPs, Wan declared that true power belongs to citizens, who exercise their authority via their elected officials. He emphasised that elected representatives of the people should not make the mistake of viewing their constituents as mere holders of voting rights, which he said would be a misguided interpretation of the democratic principle.

According to Wan, MPs who frequently consult with the constituents they represent are rarely misguided in their legislative tasks.

This seminar marked the inaugural induction held on the lawmakers’ roles for MPs elected in the May 14 General Election.

Wan discussed the need for the elected MPs to maintain their focus and dedication to their parliamentary responsibilities. He noted that it was important for MPs to not lose interest in attending House meetings.

Wan pointed out there were instances when certain members, who had allowed themselves to turn into cobras found themselves not being re-elected. The term cobra, in this context, served as a metaphor referring to the ones who were bankrolled to vote in Parliament in defiance of their respective parties’ stances, Bangkok Post reported. Wan said…

“Throughout the years I’ve been an MP, I have yet to see a single ‘cobra’ make it back into parliament. Take the tale of the 40 ‘cobra’ MPs as an example.”

Wan was believed to be hinting at an alleged scheme to remove Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha via censure votes in 2022. This coordinated insubordination was reportedly planned just before the no-confidence debate. The main focus of this debate revolved around the government’s failure to efficiently manage the Covid-19 crisis and prevalent corruption.

This initially garnered support from approximately 40 MPs, including even some members from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party. However, more than half of the MPs were persuaded to withdraw such support by the prime minister’s supporters within the coalition. The prime minister successfully weathered the censure motion just days later.

Having resigned from his previous role as the leader of the Prachachat Party to assume the position of the House Speaker, Wan outlined that Thai MPs must adapt to societal shifts.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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