FRIDAY, April 19, 2024

Srettha defends performance, says 7 months too short to achieve everything

Srettha defends performance, says 7 months too short to achieve everything

The opposition leader on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, saying he lacked the leadership to improve the economy and had instead taken the Thai democracy backwards.

Srettha, however, shot back saying opposition leader Chaithawat Tulathon was exaggerating. He said his government has been performing well, but seven months in office was too short a period to achieve everything his administration had promised.

Chaithawat kicked off the two-day general debate on Wednesday by saying that after the election, people wanted a premier who was different from the previous one who had come into power after a coup.

The debate was held under the provisions of the Constitution’s Article 152.

“Instead they got an immature prime minister who is confused by his own power,” Chaithawat said.

“He lacks the leadership to generate public confidence in his government’s direction and has opted for the convention of allocating Cabinet seats based on quotas, instead of seeking qualified persons to hold ministerial seats,” he added.

Srettha defends performance, says 7 months too short to achieve everything

Chaithawat said Srettha’s Cabinet composition gave no hope to people, adding that the public expected the economy to have picked up and their incomes to improve after his government took over.

“Instead, what people got were only confusing policies, ones that were improvised, without any clear-cut strategies or plans,” he said. “Worse yet, the policies focused on economic measures that only benefited large corporations.”

Chaithawat alleged that several policies had been implemented under the guise of being for the people, but instead had vested interests.

The opposition leader said the population hoped to see political reforms after the election and the government had announced its policy to draft the new charter soon.

Srettha defends performance, says 7 months too short to achieve everything

“However, seven months have passed with the operation going nowhere. Now, people are not sure about what the government will do about drafting a new charter,” Chaithawat said.

He added that the Srettha government promised to reform the judicial system and restore the rule of law, but instead, the public has witnessed a crisis of confidence in the Royal Thai Police, which is plagued with corruption and nepotism.

Chaithawat also referred to a comment made by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, without mentioning him by name.

“Someone said ‘if you don’t like me, please mind your own business’, but people want to live in a system with one rule where everybody is protected equally under the same law,” he said.

Critics had earlier attacked the government for granting Thaksin an early release on parole, and when questioned during his recent trip to Chiang Mai, the former leader asked to be left alone.

Srettha, meanwhile, responded to Chaithawat’s comments saying they were an exaggeration, adding that people have not lost hope in his government. He also said that his administration did not “reverse” the Thai democracy as charged.

Instead, he said, his government has been leading the country forward with hope, success and transparency.

The premier said several of his government’s policies would yield results in the future, and if the opposition detected any non-transparent projects, then it should point them out and relevant Cabinet members would provide an explanation.

“The government has been in place for just six months. The fiscal 2024 budget bill was only enacted last week. We are confident that we work with integrity and transparency by prioritising the people. We are also ready to provide clarity to MPs who still lack an understanding,” the premier said.

The prime minister added that his government had carried out a lot of work, including subsidising oil and electricity prices, and has not ignored people’s financial burden.

He added that his government was also serious about suppressing narcotics, saying that there were more related arrests in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the previous year.

Srettha also said his government was taking concrete steps to revive the tourism industry by waiving visas for several countries, including China.

He said it has also introduced measures to raise the price of rubber latex to almost 100 baht per kilo, adding that the price of rice and other crops has also risen.

Srettha went on to say that his government has also put in place measures to fight air pollution, especially PM2.5, adding that the Clean Air Bill will soon be enacted.

“All these things take time to be implemented and the government has been in office for just seven months. I believe each and every minister is working hard,” Srettha said.

He also called on the opposition to provide evidence of corruption and irregularities in his government, adding “I believe Thailand after the election is moving forward democratically”.