Parliament yesterday passed the 2014 Budget Bill after 30 hours of debate in its first reading with a 292-155 vote, pending further scrutiny in the second reading in another 30 days.
A scrutiny committee of 63 MPs was set up yesterday, which will convene its first meeting on Monday. The 63 MPs come from various parties, with many unusually from small parties under the Pheu Thai-led coalition’s quota. Democrat MP Boonyod Sukthinthai objected to this but he was overruled by Deputy House Speaker Wisut Chainarun, who presided over the session.
The Democrats also attempted to extend the 30-day scrutiny period by another 15 days, but were defeated in a 284-79 vote.
Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong made a closing statement on behalf of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is currently on an overseas trip. He said the bill was meant to honour the government’s pledge to Parliament when it first took office, on improving the quality of life of the people, promoting fairness and good governance and securing sustainable development.