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‘Madam Dear’ slams 7 Bhumjaithai ministers for no-show protest

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Palang Pracharath party-list MP Watanya “Madam Dear” Wongopasi said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that seven Bhumjaithai Party ministers who did not show up at the Cabinet meeting to consider extending the concession contract for the Green Line Skytrain should “ask themselves whether or not they should stay in the government coalition”.

“It is time for the government to choose whether to extend the concession or find a new operator for the Green Line through bidding,” she wrote.

“A good leader must dare to make a hard decision so the country can move forward, instead of sweeping the problems under the rug,” she added.

The Cabinet on Tuesday asked the Interior Ministry to reconsider its plan to extend the concession with Skytrain operator Bangkok Mass Transit System (BTSC) for 30 more years after seven Bhumjaithai ministers staged the no-show protest.

In victory for Bhumjaithai, the Cabinet deferred its decision on the Skytrain concession.

The seven ministers are Bhumjaithai leader, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan, Deputy Interior Minister Songsak Thongsri, Deputy Transport Minister Weerasak Wangsuphakijkosol, Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Wilawan and Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset.

The Interior Ministry had sought Cabinet approval to extend the concession by 30 years from 2029 to 2059 in exchange for the BTSC committing to cap the maximum fare at Bt65.

Bhumjaithai, which is in charge of the Transport Ministry, is opposed to capping the maximum fare at Bt65 and the 30-year concession extension for the BTSC.

The coalition partner had proposed that the maximum fare be sharply reduced so that low-income commuters can use the electric train.

“Should the government decide not to extend the contract, they need a plan to help the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration pay the 69.1 billion baht owed to BTSC for construction of the Green Line,” Watanya wrote.

“On the other hand, if the concession is to be extended, a condition must be set to protect low-income commuters from unfair fare hikes,” she went on to write.

“The government must decide between these options and choose appropriate strategies for the sake of the people. Staging a no-show protest is simply avoiding ones’ responsibilities and is definitely not a characteristic of a good leader,” she added.

Published : February 09, 2022

By : THE NATION