September 12, 2023
BANGKOK – The opposition camp parties denounced the new government’s policies announced in Parliament on Monday as “impractical”.
The joint sitting of the House of Representatives and Senate was convened on Monday to allow the new Cabinet to declare its policies, as required by section 162 of the current Constitution.
As agreed by all whips, lawmakers would get a total of 30 hours to debate the new Cabinet’s policies on Monday and Tuesday. Of the total time, the opposition would get 14 hours followed by the Cabinet, parties on the government side, and senators, who would each receive five hours.
At around 9.40am, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin presented the government’s policy to Parliament, and printed copies of the statement were distributed to the lawmakers.
The premier reiterated the need for the Thai economy to be strengthened after slumping under the impact of the pandemic and the global economic downturn.
Srettha said that the new government planned to implement short-term stimulus measures and long-term capacity-building of the workforce to address the country’s ongoing challenges like sluggish growth, depressed exports and high household debt.
The urgent measures include boosting the economy via a 10,000-baht handout, debt relief to address agricultural, business and personal debt, reducing energy costs and reforming the country’s energy consumption structure, generating tourism revenue, and amending the Constitution to promote democracy.
However, the opposition camp strongly hit out at the policies of the new administration.
Move Forward deputy leader Sirikanya Tansakul said that such plans lack a concrete objective, time frame and direction.
“A good policy statement is akin to the GPS [Global Positioning System], which displays objectives for the next four years as well as the direction in which the government should move,” she said, adding that “Thailand is now lost [with these policies].”
Sirikanya compared the Pheu Thai-led administration to the previous Prayut Chan-o-cha government and poured more humiliation on the coalition by saying that Prayut had done better when it came to declaring policy.
She said the reason behind this “heads-in-the-cloud” policy was because Pheu Thai might either be afraid that it could not implement all policies that were promised, or was afraid of other military-backed parties in the alliance.
Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit agreed with the Move Forward MP, saying that such policies were like “a flowery speech”, lacking a concrete plan of action.
Jurin also pointed out that several policies that Pheu Thai had promised prior to the election were not declared today, like a minimum 25,000-baht salary for bachelor’s graduates and 20-baht fares for the Skytrain.
Both opposition leaders also questioned the source of funding to implement the 10,0000-baht digital wallet scheme.