Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and 9 of his cabinet members have unsurprisingly survived a no-confidence censure motion today in the Thai parliament after 3 days of intense debates. The opposition, who filed the motion, sharply criticised the PM’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, along with the subsequent vaccination program, or lack of it, and alleged “systematic corruption”.
According to Thai Enquirer, the Minister of Education received the least amount of support in parliament after student protesters criticised him, saying he “failed to improve and reform Thailand’s education system”.
The Move Forward, a reboot of the Future Forward party that performed so well in the 2019 general election, highlighted alleged corruption in the Thai police force with the party MPs alleging that top government officials have created “a secret list that gives certain policemen preferential treatment”.
The vaccination program was also criticised by the opposition, saying its reliance on just 1 firm to produce the vaccine locally is slowing down the process. Acquisition and arrival of the overseas vaccine products keeps being delayed. Additionally, the firm selected to produce the vaccine in Thailand, Siam Bioscience, has been shown to be owned by the Crown Property Bureau.
Meanwhile, vaccine distribution methods have been mulled as critics say poorer residents could suffer if local municipalities use their own funds to purchase and administer the vaccines. Critics say many local municipalities who offer to fund the vaccines may have “alterior political motives”. Local elections are just around the corner, with some candidates allegedly offering free vaccines with the hopes of boosting votes.
Critics also claim that PM Prayut used the Emergency Decree as a political tool, attempting to gain more power legally while protests heated up nationwide. Such powers asserted under the decree have allowed the government to issue curfews and bans on large gatherings, which include political ones.
The ability to arrest demonstrators based on breaking this law has been exercised with even some minor students being charged with violating the Emergency Decree. Arrests were also made under the Lese Majeste law, gaining widespread criticism internationally along with human rights groups weighing in on the matter.
SOURCE: Thai Enquirer
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