Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has been under fire for his "stupid woman" remark - made during a Democrat rally last Saturday in reference to the Smart Lady reality-show contest - a project under the government's Thai Women Empowerment Fund.
Many observers cannot believe the Oxford graduate and former PM made the comment. But the opposition leader denied claims that his remark was tantamount to looking down on women in general.
However, it’s not the first time a “stupid woman” claim has been made in the political arena.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague drew criticism in July after calling Labour MP Cathy Jamieson a “stupid woman” during questions to the prime minister. Hague shook his head at Jamieson as she questioned Prime Minister David Cameron whether Hague was lobbying on behalf of a Tory party donor. He then muttered “stupid woman”, according to the Independent news website.
Hague’s remarks drew heavy criticism of the Conservative Party. Fellow Labour MPs demanded that the foreign secretary apologise.
Speaking in the Commons later, Hague said: “I mutter many things in this House. Others shout them rather louder than I do, but I mutter many things under my breath and never intend any offence to any other honourable member,” according to the Guardian website.
Abhisit’s situation is similar to Hague’s.
Women politicians in the ruling Pheu Thai party have called on Abhisit to apologise for his remarks, and sent him a sarong.
“Abhisit should show that he is a gentleman and take responsibility,” a female Pheu Thai MP said.
The Democrat leader did not make direct reference to any individual, but Pheu Thai MP Kusumalavatee Sirikomut said in her press release on Thursday that Abhisit’s remarks made many people think he referred to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
“Everybody [in my party] appreciated everything I did, especially former premier Somchai Wongsawat. He said ‘thank you’ to me and told me I had done a great job,” she said.
“I just want to protect my prime minister,” she said.
In a separate development, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul yesterday defended Yingluck from criticism about her trips abroad.
“During her visit to each country, the prime minister had no chance to go anywhere for pleasure. She worked so hard and barely had time to breathe,” he said.
A video clip posted by “Diary1” was being shared on social media about Thai people gathering to protest against Prime Minister Yingluck at a hotel in Switzerland during her visit there saying she was wasting taxpayers’ money.