Democrat Jurin calls government budget plan ‘lame duck’

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Jurin Laksanawisit, a Democrat party-list MP, slammed the Thai government, branding its budget a “lame duck catastrophe.”

Unleashing a fiery critique, Jurin accused the ruling Pheu Thai Party of political trickery, leaving the nation teetering on an economic tightrope.

Jurin took centre stage, launching an attack against the government’s budget yesterday, January 3. Describing it as a lame duck, he criticised the tardiness of a budget he believes arrived too late for any meaningful economic revival.

The Democrat MP expressed scepticism about the budget’s effectiveness in stimulating the economy within the truncated timeframe.

“The government will only have five months instead of 12 to spend the funds allocated. This means it will only work 40%, so I’ll call it a lame duck.”

Venturing further into the fray, Jurin outlined four main drawbacks in the budget bill, highlighting the shift from a balanced to a deficit budget. He accused the government of proposing expenditures amounting to 3.48 trillion baht against projected revenues of 2.78 trillion baht, resulting in a staggering deficit of 630 billion baht.

Over expenditures

Jurin’s second concern revolved around fixed expenditures skyrocketing by 130 billion baht, overshadowing the meagre 10% increase in the investment budget. He underscored the importance of the investment budget for economic discovery and growth.

The third point of contention for the Democrat party MP was the allocation of funds for the central emergency fund. Despite previous criticism from Pheu Thai, Jurin highlighted that the current government had allocated even more, reaching a substantial 98 billion baht.

Diving deeper into the fiscal quagmire, Jurin dubbed Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin the pink-sock borrower for planning to borrow 693 billion baht, 100 billion more than the preceding administration. This borrowing included a hefty 500 billion baht for the controversial digital wallet scheme, sparking doubts about its feasibility.

Expressing concern about the government’s ability to repay the colossal loan in three years, Jurin argued that the 2024 budget did not allocate funds for the digital wallet scheme. He cautioned that the project might face abandonment if the Council of State ruled against it, reported The Nation.

Jurin also pointed out significant omissions in the budget, such as the lack of funds for implementing crucial government policies, including charter amendments and the 20-baht fare for electric trains. Despite expressing support for the allocation to the Corrections Department, he questioned whether all inmates would receive equal treatment.

Jurin urged PM Srettha to ensure transparency in budget spending, hinting at the possibility of a future censure debate. However, protests from Pheu Thai MPs were curtailed by House Speaker Wan Muhammad Noor Matha, who stressed the need to continue the heated debate.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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