A mix of loyalists and experience — the six new faces in Thailand’s new cabinet

Four of the new faces are from coalition leader Pheu Thai Party.

The Nation

The Nation



The six new faces are Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira, Deputy Finance Minister Paopoom Rojanasakul, PM’s Office Minister Jiraporn Sinthuprai, PM’s Office Minister Pichit Chuenban, Deputy Agriculture Minister Attakorn Sirilattayakorn, and Deputy Commerce Minister Suchart Chomklin. PHOTO: THE NATION

April 29, 2024

BANGKOK – The six new faces are Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira, Deputy Finance Minister Paopoom Rojanasakul, PM’s Office Minister Jiraporn Sinthuprai, PM’s Office Minister Pichit Chuenban, Deputy Agriculture Minister Attakorn Sirilattayakorn and Deputy Commerce Minister Suchart Chomklin.

Pichai, Paopoom Jiraporn, and Pichit were appointed under the Pheu Thai quota, Attakorn under the Palang Pracharath quota and Suchart under the United Thai Nation quota.

Deputy PM and Finance Minister Pichai Chunhavajira

Pichai was born on February 15, 1949. He has been a leading businessman and used to hold several important posts, including the chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand’s board of directors, a post he resigned from just last week in what was a seen a preparation for the Cabinet reshuffle.

He was a member of the Bank of Thailand’s board of directors in the past and also the president of the Federation of Accounting Professions.

Currently, he is the president of Bangchak Corporation Plc and an adviser to the Board of Investment. Before his appointment to the Cabinet, he was also an economic adviser to the prime minister.

In 2015-16, Pichai was a key defence witness when former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was tried in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Office for failure to stop damage in the rice-pledging scheme.

Deputy Finance Minister Paopoom Rojanasakul

He was born on February 22, 1983 and got a bachelor’s in engineering from Kasetsart University. He later got a master of business administration degree from Massachusetts University in Boston and got both a master’s degree and a doctorate in economics from the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Paopoom is seen as a young rising star in the Pheu Thai, who has been playing a prominent role since 2019. He entered the party as an aide to Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai, who is close to the Shinawatra family, to take care of economic affairs.

PM’s Office Minister Pichit Chuenban

Pichit got a bachelors’ in law from Ramkhamhaeng University and a master’s in law from Dhurakij Pundit University. He also got a master’s in arts from Ramkhamhaeng and a doctorate in industrial business administration from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.

Pichit is a lawyer seen as the most trusted by the Shinawatra family. He was assigned to head all the defence teams since the 2006 coup against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He was once jailed for six months for attempting to bribe judges with 2 million baht in cash in a case against Thaksin.

During the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, Pichit was assigned as a member of a team to screen draft legislations before the bills were submitted to the House.

Pichit also headed the defence team of Yingluck when she was tried by the Supreme Court in the rice-pledging case.

In 2019, when the Pheu Thai formed a secondary party called Thai Raksa Chart Party, Pichit became its chief legal adviser. After Thai Raksa Chart was dissolved, Pichit was transferred back to Pheu Thai.

PM’s Office Minister Jiraporn Sinthuprai

Roi Et MP Jiraporn was born on September 1, 1987. She got a bachelor’s in arts from Assumption University, a master’s in political science from Ramkhamhaeng University and a master of science (international business) degree from University of Reading in England.

Jiraporn is the eldest child of former Roi Et MP Nisit Sinthuprai, who was an executive of the now defunct People Power Party and a former leader of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship.

Jiraporn became a rising star in the House when she vociferously debated the previous government of prime minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. She even has her own fan club and is seen as a young-blood politician who has helped boost Pheu Thai’s image.

Deputy Agriculture Minister Attakorn Sirilattayakorn

Attakorn was born on August 7, 1984.

His father, Itthiporn Sirilattayakorn, a former deputy transport minister, was a member of the so-called Group of 16. Itthiporn has won Chachoengsao House seat many times until he retired.

Attakorn got a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Bangkok University and a master’s in marketing management from Middlesex University in England.

Attakorn joined Pheu Thai in 2011 and was elected a party-list MP.

He moved to the Palang Pracharath Party before the 2019 election and was elected a party-list MP.

He served as a secretary to the coalition whips during the tenure of the previous government until he became a member of the Palang Pracharath executive board and the spokesman for the party later.

Deputy Commerce Minister Suchart Chomklin

Suchart was born on July 15, 1974 and got an arts degree in management from Krirk University in Bangkok.

Suchart is a member of the Chonburi faction of the former Palang Chon Party.

When Palang Chon was about to join Palang Pracharath in 2018, Suchart left the faction to form his own group.

When he became a Chonburi MP of Palang Pracharath, he had severe conflicts with the Chonburi group of the Kunploem family.

He was close to then prime minister Prayut and was appointed the labour minister in the Prayut government.

When the Untied Thai Nation was formed to nominate Prayut in the 2023 election, Suchart left the Palang Pracharath to join United Thai Nation. He was elected as a party-list MP but his group lost to the Chonburi group in the elections.

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