A Pheu Thai Party MP yesterday voiced his opposition to red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan's possible appointment to the Cabinet, saying that his legal problems disqualified him from the job.
MP Chalong Riewraeng said he believed that several other politicians in the ruling party agreed with him although they did not dare speak about it in public.
“Jatuporn should not be made a Cabinet member. He faces lese majeste charges and a court verdict on the case is expected in a month. If he is not found guilty, then it won’t be too late to make him a minister,” Chalong said.
He added that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra might feel uneasy about having to answer questions about why she appointed a man involved in the 2010 unrest and the “burning of the city” to her Cabinet.
It has been speculated that Jatuporn might be named deputy interior minister in a Cabinet reshuffle that is expected soon. He was recently promised a Cabinet seat by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is believed to be pulling the strings of the ruling party and government.
Chalong explained that he made this comment out of good intentions for the Pheu Thai Party and the political atmosphere. “I have no bias against Jatuporn. I just do not want the party to be viewed in a bad light or the good political atmosphere to be destroyed,” he said.
The politician also said that many deserving people in the party, such as Mingkwan Sangsuwan, had not been appointed to the Cabinet. “It seems like Cabinet seats are being used as rewards,” he added.
Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader Korkaew Pikulthong said the prime minister had the power to make the final decision about Cabinet appointments, adding that Chalong’s comments confirmed an earlier rumour that Pheu Thai MPs from the Central region were campaigning against Jatuporn’s appointment to the Cabinet. Korkaew said Jatuporn had contributed more to the party than Chalong.