Thai military commanders asked to explain secret budget used by senior officers
Senior officers from the Defence Ministry, and the Royal Thai Armed Forces, say its nearly 2,000,000,000 baht budget would be used reasonably to protect the country. But members of the Extraordinary Committee asked about the secret budget and urged senior officers to reveal more detail about the plan to the public.
The Extraordinary Committee met this morning to consider the 2023 budget for the Ministry of Defence, which was 197,292,732,000 baht.
The meeting was joined by the senior officers from the relevant departments including, the permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry, Worakiat Rattananon, the commander in chief of the Thai Armed Forces, Chalermpon Sisawat, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army, Narongpan Jitkaewtae, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy, Somprasong Nilsamai, and the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, Napadej Dhupatemiya.
Each officer explained to the Extraordinary Committee members how the armed forces would spend the budget and why the budget for the Defence Ministry is important for the country.
The Defence Ministry said that the world’s situation is unstable and it could lead to conflict that would involve the Thai armed forces and they would need better defence weapons. He said this means they would need a larger arsenal. The secretary added that the defence budget all over the world had increased to 2.1 trillion baht and would likely increase more.
Worakiat said the budget that the Defence Ministry would get next year “wouldn’t be too much compared to its mission to protect the country.”
“Even the budget wouldn’t boost the economy, but the strong army could be a tool for negotiating political policies.”
The commander in chief of the Thai Armed Force, Chalermpon, insisted that the Defense Ministry will consider the economic situation and residents before they spend its budget.
“The Royal Thai Armed Force had military supplies at about 5 thousand million baht. Spend about 10 billion baht to buy necessary supplies and maintenance. The rest was spent on soldier training. “A strong military could support different missions like Covid-19, emergencies, and natural disasters.”
Move Forward Party MP, Parit Wacharasindhu questioned whether there was a plan to reduce the manpower of the armed forces because most of the budget was spent on that.
Parit said most of the military is chosen, or members are enrolled, through a lottery system. He said opportunities were lost through this system of recruitment.
Parit also urged senior officers to explain “the secret budget” of nearly 500 million baht for the Defence Ministry, and the Royal Thai Armed Force. He said there were no details on it.
Another Extraordinary Committee member, Somchai Sisuttiyakorn, asked the armed forces to make public knowledge of the budget spent on special salaries for high-ranking officers. Somchai claimed he’d been informed that a large chunk of the budget is used on renting luxury Mercedes Benz cars for high-profile officers.
The Defence Ministry and armed forces have yet to report their spending as yet.
SOURCE: Thaipost | Bangkokbiznews
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