SUNDAY, April 21, 2024

Deputy House Speaker asks for updates on delayed legislation

Deputy House Speaker asks for updates on delayed legislation

Deputy House Speaker Padipat Santipada visited the Government House on Friday to find out why more than 30 draft bills are still awaiting the Prime Minister’s signature.

Padipat denied he was encroaching on the executive’s responsibilities by going to the Thai Ku-Fah Building and said he merely wanted to meet with the PM’s staff.

The Deputy House Speaker also clarified that he wasn’t expecting any changes overnight and pointed out that meetings between the legislative and the executive branches were normal.

Padipat added that there were no problems with the current government and opposition whip, noting that it was his responsibility to oversee the ratification of all drafts, and there were drafts from the Bhumjai Thai Party sitting on the PM’s desk.

When asked if Padipat was doing this to boost his personal profile, he replied that everybody has a right to their opinion and instead reaffirmed his intentions.

“There are still draft bills that need to be ratified and Parliament cannot keep waiting on the government’s draft to go ahead with deliberations.

“There needs to be an opportunity for us to listen and reflect, instead of going back and forth in the news,” Padipat continued. “And as for the bills, I’m not naive, I know that political timing plays a part in which bill gets presented and which doesn’t, but at least there needs to be some transparency about the delays.”

The draft that has been sitting on the PM’s desk the longest is Parit Wacharasindhu’s Military Service Act amendments, which has been waiting for approval for 6 months and 11 days. Additionally, Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has seen his Southern Economic Corridor Bill wait 4 months and 17 days for the PM’s approval.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he wasn't aware he was letting any bills 'pickle', before questioning if Padipat's actions were appropriate, seeing as he didn't make a prior appointment.

Meanwhile, Move Forward MP Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat explained that bills requiring use of the fiscal budget needed approval from the PM before they could be presented to Parliament.

Even bills cancelling out or decreasing expenses, as opposed to increasing expenses, were waiting for the PM’s approval.

Nattacha believes that the Deputy House Speaker was acting out of genuine frustration at the legislative roadblocks, instead of petty politicking.

Nattacha, who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare, revealed that in a meeting with the 35 committee chairs, House Speaker Wan Muhammad Noor Matha suggested a 60-day timeline for bills waiting on the PM’s approval.

“With no timeline, there’s no way for the legislature to move forward,” said Nattacha.