SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Srettha admits flaws in ministers but rules out Cabinet reshuffle

Srettha admits flaws in ministers but rules out Cabinet reshuffle

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on Thursday that there would be no Cabinet reshuffle in the near future, denying speculation that he was eyeing the defence minister’s seat.

“I have no plan to change the Cabinet line-up today, as of now, or anytime soon,” the prime minister told reporters when asked about the matter.

When asked if he saw any flaws in the Cabinet that should be rectified, Srettha said: “Everyone can do it better, including myself, and we have to make the improvements together. Certainly, there are flaws, but not so many to warrant a Cabinet reshuffle.”

He then asked the media: “Is that clear enough?”

Srettha, who also doubles as the finance minister, dismissed speculation that he would replace his defence minister, Sutin Klungsang, for the military’s backing to help boost his political stability.

“I have no reason to replace the defence minister. I have never thought about that and never spoken so. It’s purely media speculation,” the prime minister said.

He added that his government’s political stability should be based on public support stemming from its work for public interest. “This way everyone in the government, and not just me, will gain political stability,” he said.

PM Srettha was asked to comment on recent remarks by Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai that the best time for this government’s major Cabinet reshuffle would be after the parliamentary passage of the budget bill for fiscal 2024. Srettha said he had no comments on the matter.

When asked if Phumtham had embarrassed him by making such remarks, the prime minister said that the political veteran’s views should be heeded. “I have trust in him as my deputy prime minister, and I respect him,” he said.

Srettha admits flaws in ministers but rules out Cabinet reshuffle

Srettha admits flaws in ministers but rules out Cabinet reshuffle

In a separate development, Srettha said he would personally inspect the construction of Rama II Road following criticism that its expansion plan has continued with no end in sight.

The road, which connects Bangkok and Ratchaburi, was first built in 1970, and the construction was completed three years later. However, as Rama II became an important route to the South, there were a series of projects to expand the road and connect it with the expressway system.

For several locals and motorists using the road regularly, the construction seems to be unending over the past half-century.

The prime minister said that he would “see for himself” the construction of Rama II Road, adding that he had a good understanding of those people’s suffering. However, he added that no exact schedules had been set for his inspection of the road, as he would have a busy week in early March with planned trips to the Northeast and Austria.

When asked if the recent TikTok videos lampooning the “unending” construction of Rama II Road would cause misunderstanding that his government had failed to speed up the construction, Srettha said his government was doing its utmost about the matter. “Some people may want to discourage us. Let them. We are doing our work,” he added.