A disaffected Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung yesterday warned Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra that she was setting her government up for an early demise thanks to her new "ice-cream gang".
Chalerm was apparently referring to Yingluck’s young aides.
After reporting for work at the Labour Ministry for the first time since the Cabinet reshuffle, Chalerm spent more than an hour complaining about his transfer. He previously held the post of deputy prime minister.
After briefly addressing senior Labour Ministry officials, Chalerm said he was sorry about being removed from his previous position because he was doing so well in fighting drug trafficking.
“I have the right to ask why I was transferred when I had always performed well,” he said.
Chalerm went on to say that his sarcastic comment about being former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s slave was only meant to have a dig at the opposition Democrat Party. He said Yingluck had invited him to meet Thaksin in London in 2006, where he was asked to join the People Power Party.
After that he was put at the helm of the Interior Ministry for eight months until the so-called “gang of four” took over and started influencing the Cabinet. In this case he was referring to former PM, the late Samak Sundarvej, Thirapol Noprumpha, Newin Chidchob and People Power Party secretary-general Surapong Suebwonglee, who apparently tried to wrest power from Thaksin.
“And now there’s an ‘ice-cream gang’ at Government House,” he said.
Chalerm added that Yingluck should have veteran politicians around her so she can be shielded from political attacks.
“Now, she has only dogs around her and she will face her demise as prime minister as nobody will respect her,” he said.
He went on to say that measures to control the southern unrest had failed partially because he had only taken over the responsibility in November and had not been given enough power or funds.
He also attacked Thawee Sodsong, secretary-general of the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre, for ignoring his demand that he publicly announce that Chalerm had evidence proving that the Barisan Revolusi Nasional was behind the May 1 attack.
Six civilians were killed in the attack, and foreign media have been blaming Thai soldiers for it.
He also claimed that Thawee and the “ice-cream gang” had told Yingluck about his inability to ease the situation in the South, which is why she chose not to give him the task to oversee national security.