On the first day of the televised budget bill debate, Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said he would not accept the budget bill and wanted to see it killed along with the government.
“And we’ll have a new government so people will be happy,” he said. “If the budget bill is rejected in the first reading, the prime minister can return happiness to the people. If you don’t believe me, just try it.”
Cholnan rose to speak after Prayut finished reading his speech in defence of the 3.185-trillion-baht budget bill.
The opposition leader began his speech with an ironic dig at the premier, saying Prayut should have spoken to the House instead of reading “every word” of the prepared speech.
Cholnan said the opposition paid special attention to the 2023 budget because it would be the last budget prepared by Prayut’s government before it completes its four-year term in March next year.
“But I believe there will be an incident that will force out the government sooner,” Cholnan said.
He said opposition MPs will spend the next three days proving why the budget bill cannot be accepted in principle and should not be passed in the first reading.
Cholnan said the government projects and planned spending do not correspond to the current economic crisis.
“If the opposition accepts the bill in principle, it would be tantamount to damaging the country,” he said.
The MP said the opposition has resolved to reject the bill because it can no longer trust the government to administer the budget as this administration “has lost legitimacy and cannot run anything”.
“The government lacks vision and is now just paying lip service and making excuses by blaming others for its mistakes,” Cholnan said.
The opposition leader said the budget bill would leave a legacy of debt for the future generations. He said public debt under the Prayut government had hit a record high and its failures have led to the highest household debt and non-performing loans in history.
He said the Prayut government is planting an economic timebomb and its soft-loan measures have failed, forcing some private firms to shut down.
“If we approve this budget for the government to use, it will be like destroying the country and hurting the people. If we want to overcome the crisis smoothly, then we must change the leader because the PM is at the centre of all national problems,” he said.
“If my fellow MPs believe we need to push for changes, please vote against the bill. We believe the prime minister is responsible enough to resign or dissolve the House once the bill is rejected,” he said.
Published : May 31, 2022
By : THE NATION