By THE NATION
Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said that he had met with politicians on different occasions, including during this week’s Cabinet retreat in Ubon Ratchathani province. He added that he had discussed with them what should be done for the country.
Sontirat said that in Ubon early this week he met Supol Fong-ngam, a former Pheu Thai Party MP for the northeastern province.
Supol defected from Pheu Thai and voiced his support for Prime Minister Prayut.
Sontirat said the government needed to talk with and listen to politicians, because politicians are close to the people. Input from politicians allows the government to learn about the needs of people in different areas of the country, he added.
Such information would help the government to determine what should be done during its remaining time in power, said the commerce minister.
“We [the government] have to work with all sides. In fact, many political parties want General Prayut to be prime minister [again]. But what we have to do is to make sure that the different parties have the chance to help push this government’s policies continuously, such as the mega-projects like the Eastern Economic Corridor [EEC],” Sontirat said.
“We want government policies to be implemented without interruptions. We want the country to move forward,” Sontirat said. “One of the problems of our country is lack of continuity in government policies. And that’s a weak point for Thailand.”
He did not confirm his reported connection with Palang Pracharat, a political party in the making whose founders are planning to nominate Prayut as their prime ministerial candidate at the next election.
Sontirat dismissed as a rumour media reports that he was going to become secretary-general of Palang Pracharat.
“When I am ready to accept the position, I will tell the media. I have not made my decision,” he said.
When asked about the progress of the new party in the making, Sontirat said he would talk to the media about the matter “when the time is right”. He added that he would base his decision on the future situation.
Meanwhile, Prayut, who also heads the ruling junta National Council for Peace and Order, yesterday said that the public “should not allow bad people to besiege Government House again”.
The PM did not elaborate, but he was clearly referring to anti-government protesters who often gathered around the government head’s office to press their demands.
Most previous governments over the past decade shared the same experience, with rival yellow-shirt and red-shirt protesters taking turns to rally outside Government House.
Prayut was speaking to a group of people helping clean the perimeter walls of the premises. “We are cleaning up Government House already. Don’t allow bad people to surround it again,” he said.
The premier also said that his actions had no political motives, as he aimed to create benefits for the country as a whole.
“This government has no desire to benefit anyone in particular,” he added.