January 23, 2024
BANGKOK – Led by Seree Suwanpanont, the group submitted the motion on Monday to Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai. Several notable senators accompanied Seree, including Jetn Sirathranont, Somchai Swangkarn, Chalao Puangmalai and Thawil Pliensri.
Article 153 grants authority to one-third or 84 senators to propose a motion for general debate, asking Cabinet members to provide factual statements or explanations tied to the administration of the country. Importantly, no voting is conducted at the end of the debate.
Before submitting the motion, Seree told reporters that the senators wanted the government to address seven specific issues.
He said the group seeks a two-day debate, though how many senators will participate in the questioning session is yet to be determined.
In response to criticism that it is too soon for the Senate to hold such a debate, given that the government has only been in power for two months, Seree said the debate was not aimed at scrutinising the administration’s failures. Instead, he said, the Senate wants to use the debate as a reminder for the government to fulfil its announced policies and election promises.
He added that the Senate did not hold a general debate against the last government, because it did not disrupt the country’s administration.
“But there are many problems now and they should be cited for discussion in Parliament,” Seree said.
The digital wallet scheme, promising a 10,000-baht handout to all Thais aged 16 and above, will be the highlight of the debate, he said. The Senate wants to find out if the project will result in a huge debt burden or if it can be seen as a move to buy votes. It will also ask about the potential misappropriation of project funds, Seree added.
The Senate also wants to inquire about Thaksin being given the right to receive treatment outside prison for more than four months now, and whether it was a kind of nepotism.
After receiving the motion, Pornpetch said it would be reviewed by the Senate Secretariat first, after which it will coordinate with the Cabinet to set two days for the debate next month.