PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with Newin Chidchob in Buriram on May 7 during his field trip to the province
PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha meets with Newin Chidchob in Buriram on May 7 during his field trip to the province

Prayut avoids speaking about motive for field trips

politics May 14, 2018 01:00

By WASAMON AUDJARINT
THE NATION

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SPOKESPERSON SAYS PEOPLE SHOULD NOT WORRY ABOUT PM’S MOTIVES



PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday dodged addressing whether the increased speculation that his field trip to Sa Kaew province had a political motive caused him to cancel the trip.

Prayut’s agenda to visit the eastern province on Friday to attend a border checkpoint opening ceremony was criticised as being an opportunity for the PM to meet with local politicians to “persuade” them to his side.

The agenda was only cancelled because Cambodian PM Hun Sen would be occupied with other business, said Government Spokesperson Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd. 

“[Politicians’] decisions to shift from their parties would not guarantee their seats in the parliament anyway, as long as they are not trusted by people,” Sansern said.

“So, [Prayut] wishes that we should not be too worried about the matter,” he added.

The junta chief has roamed the country on field trips for over a year. However, speculation about him making deals with politicians escalated when Sontaya Kunplome, leader of Phalang Chon Party, was appointed as Prayut’s political adviser last month.

Prayut was also grandly welcomed by “kingmaker” Newin Chidchob last week in Buri Ram, as the province’s multi-billion-baht projects were proposed before the Prayut-led Cabinet meeting.

In Sa Kaew, there was speculation that Prayut would meet with the Pheu Thai Party’s adviser and veteran politician Sanoh Thienthong, who Sansern said the premier “has known for long but is not close or related in any way”.

Critics suggested that Prayut might be seeking political support ahead of the upcoming election, |after which the parliament would have to vote to select a new prime minister.

Prayut could contend for the position as the 2017 Constitution allows outsider candidate to be nominated by both Upper and Lower houses if the latter cannot agree upon a list of three PM candidates from their parties.

Democrat Party deputy leader Ongart Klampaiboon has also urged Prayut to “adjust his behaviour” should he not wanted to be viewed as having political motives.

“Prayut and people in his government met with ex-MPs several times, giving them positions in the government agencies. Thus, it is hard to not see them as having political agendas,” Ongart said. 

“Instead, if they change their behaviour and concentrate more on solving people’s problems, people would understand their agenda immediately without them dodging it,” he added.