Srettha confident of explaining contentious Cabinet appointment to court

SUNDAY, JUNE 02, 2024

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told Nation TV on Saturday that he had not committed any wrongdoing in appointing Pichit Chuenban as minister to the Prime Minister's Office and he was confident of making his case before the Constitutional Court.

The charter court has accepted the petition of 40 senators seeking the removal of Srettha as PM for violating ethics in making the Cabinet appointment.

Srettha told the “Exclusive Talk on The Nation Weekend” programme on Nation TV that when such a case arises, it must be explained transparently to the court according to the procedure, and he was confident that the appointment was made fairly.

The PM said: “I don't want to say that it exceeded expectations, but when we step onto the public stage, we must answer every question in full."

"In this appointment, there are several dissatisfied parties. However, it is the duty of the administration to explain. Whether it is satisfactory or not, please clarify first, and let the court be the judge. I can confirm the integrity and sincerity of my decision."

As for the impact of this case on his administration, Srettha acknowledged that it may affect the confidence of foreign investors because the perception that emerges could influence negotiations on free trade agreements with various countries. Additionally, it could affect initiatives such as Thailand's national development plan, and “Ignite Thailand”, which has been announced.

Srettha said that he had told his team that they must work harder to build confidence and ensure work progresses smoothly without obstacles. “The government is making every effort to move forward and create confidence across all sectors, showing that the government is determined to continue to work diligently,” he said.

Srettha has made over 15 overseas trips in the past 10 months, and these have been considered crucial missions. The discussions held with governments and investors in various countries were aimed at showcasing Thailand as ready for investment and to instil confidence in businesses, he said. Questions have been raised, however, regarding the success of these trips, and the actual volume of investment they generated as well as when they will materialise.

Srettha said that he had held discussions with tech giants Microsoft and Google, and the CEO of Microsoft had himself travelled to Thailand and announced investment plans, although specific investment figures have not been disclosed yet. Google, however, announced investment plans in Malaysia. Negotiations between the government and these two global companies are ongoing. The reason investment figures in other countries were revealed sooner is likely because their discussions had started before Thailand, he explained.

"The case of AWS [Amazon Web Services] announcing an investment of 190 billion baht in Thailand has been in progress for some time. When it comes to a certain point, we are confident there will be a similar investment announcements in Thailand. Investing billions requires time for decision-making, just like buying a house," Srettha said.

He said the government's key missions for the remainder of this year would prioritise agricultural development, policies to mitigate flooding and drought, agricultural commodity price management, tourism promotion and royal celebrations. 

Given the significance of the 6th cycle celebrations of His Majesty the King's auspicious birthday on July 28, other international trips planned by the PM during this period will be postponed accordingly.