Pichai cancels meeting on SET crash, visits Thaksin instead

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2024

Finance minister refuses to say if he was at former PM’s home to discuss 2025 budget, says it was ‘just business’

Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira cancelled the meeting on the stock market’s crash scheduled on Monday and was instead seen entering the Bangkok mansion of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

Reporters on the Parliament beat had been earlier informed that Pichai would chair a meeting with the committee in charge of protecting foreign investments at the Command Building in Government House at 11am.

Hoping to learn why the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) index tumbled so sharply on Tuesday, the reporters gathered outside the planned meeting room. However, they were later informed that the meeting had been cancelled because Pichai was busy.

Pichai cancels meeting on SET crash, visits Thaksin instead

Meanwhile, reporters watching Thaksin’s residence in Soi Charansanitwong 71 said they saw Pichai’s official car entering the premises around mid-morning. The official vehicles of his deputies Julapun Amornvivat and Paophum Rojanasakul were also spotted entering the mansion.

Pichai, who also doubles as deputy PM, then returned to Government House at 11.35am.

When reporters asked what had prompted him to cancel the meeting, Pichai said: “Nothing special, it’s just that the prime minister is not well, he has Covid.”

Pichai cancels meeting on SET crash, visits Thaksin instead

However, when reporters told him that his vehicle was seen entering the Chan Song Lar mansion, he only laughed and said “I was there for business”.

He did not answer when asked if he had gone to Chan Song Lar to discuss the 2025 budget bill with Thaksin, who is considered the Pheu Thai Party’s patriarch.