March 16, 2014 00:00 By Khanittha Thepphaojorn
Pheu Thai MP caught using colleagues' id cards by rival, who filmed his illegal act
Pheu Thai MP Naris Thongtirat’s use of electronic voting cards belonging to other MPs to vote on their behalf in support of the Bt2-trillion infrastructure borrowing bill was one of the reasons that led the Constitutional Court to rule the bill void.
The incident was the Achilles heel of the ambitious draft bill by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration.
It took place on September 20 last year and the Constitutional Court considered it a breach of the charter – Articles 122s and 126 – with six of the eight judges supporting the ruling.
The scandal eventually undermined what was arguably the Yingluck government’s most ambitious policy, which included proposed high-speed train routes.
But this is not the first time something like this has occurred in Parliament, where ruling party MPs were unaware that someone was recording their actions for later use as evidence in court.
Pheu Thai MPs did the same thing when voting for the amendment on the make-up of the Senate.
Then opposition Democrat Party MP for Samut Songkhram Rangsima Rodrasamee managed to video-record the action, thus nailing the ruling party.
The Constitutional Court stated in its ruling that the use of voting cards belonging to other MPs is contradictory to the principle of one MP having one vote under Article 126 of the charter.
It said the practice also went against the principle that MPs should vote based on their free will and carry out this duty honestly for the benefit of the people.
The evidence was first presented to the media on September 24 by the Democrat Party, while other voting violations took place at 5.33pm on September 10 last year and 4.43pm on February 11.
Bangkok Senator Rosana Tositrakul also produced a still photo of a person alleged to be an MP of the ruling party stretching his arm to press the bottom for a fellow MP on the desk behind him.
Rak Thai Party MP Chuwit Kamolvisit also produced a video that he claims shows eight MPs, six from the ruling party and two from a coalition partner party, using one another’s cards to vote on their behalf.
Vorachai Hema, Pheu Thai’s former MP for Samut Prakan, defended these actions by saying no MP could possibly sit in the House for 24 hours non-stop.
Vorachai said some MPs had to do business outside parliament and asked colleagues to vote on their behalf, and this could be verified.