By The Nation
Premsak on Saturday joined with Somsak Thepsutin, a leader of the Sam Mitr (Three Friends) group to meet some 200 representatives from Khon Kaen’s Ban Phai district and nearby districts at the Ban Phai municipal meeting hall.
Sam Mitr is so-named for its three leaders – Somsak, Suriya Juangroongruangkit and Deputy Prime Minster Somkid Jatusripitak.
Political observers have dubbed the group a powerful political vacuum cleaner with sucking power sufficient to recruit former MPs from various parties to join the right-wing Palang Pracharat Party.
Observers say the party is being created to support junta Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha as he vies for another term after the next election. Prayut has so far played coy about his post-election ambitions.
At the Ban Phai gathering, Premsak and Somsak listened to problems of local people and promised to take care of their issues, said Pirom Polwiset, secretary of Sam Mitr.
After meeting the people in Ban Phai, the group moved on to visit people in Mahasarakham’s Kosum Pisai district in the afternoon. The group was received by Kosol Kadphanno, vice president of the Mahasarakham Provincial Administrative Organisation.
Earlier on Saturday, Somsak and Pirom met with some 1,000 people from Bua Yai and nearby districts in Nakhon Ratchasima to hear their problems and proposals.
The representatives of residents of Bua Yai and seven surrounding districts called on the Prayut government to upgrade the eight districts into a new province called Bua Yai. They said Nakon Ratchasima province is too bloated with 32 districts, leaving the provincial administration ineffective in taking care of the people.
Seree Nampibul, chief of Tambon None Phet in Pathai district, said tambon chiefs and village heads had also called on Prayut to give them a pay increase.
Somsak is said to have promised them that he would raise the proposal for creating Bua Yai province with the Interior Ministry and with Prayut.
Pirom said the group would comply with the people’s wishes and proposal, and would report to the prime minister to seek measures to tackle the issues