January 27, 2023
BANGKOK – “Khun Thaksin is still a rich man who can fly anywhere in the world – except Thailand,” said Nipit Intarasombat, an eight-time MP for Phatthalung.
“He can’t land here yet. All he can do is look down on his motherland when his plane flies past,” Nipit, a former culture minister and deputy Democrat leader, said in a Facebook post.
Nipit was responding to Thaksin’s bold announcement on Tuesday night that he would “definitely return” to Thailand this year.
Thaksin, who was ousted by the 2006 coup and then fled a corruption case ruling in 2008, said his youngest daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, would announce his return.
Paetongtarn is tipped to become the Pheu Thai Party’s prime ministerial candidate and is the most popular choice for PM in almost all recent public opinion polls.
Nipit said his legal knowledge offered no solutions on how Thaksin could return to Thailand without having to serve jail terms for multiple corruption cases. The former PM has been sentenced to a total of 10 years in jail.
Nipit said he could not figure out how Pheu Thai, which is known to be under Thaksin’s command, could provide a no-jail solution for Thaksin even if it scored a landslide victory in the upcoming election.
“No one would dare to pass a bill absolving him of these crimes since it would also free many other convicts jailed for corruption, including permanent officials and politicians,” Nipit said.
The public would not tolerate such an amnesty, he added.
Nipit also speculated that Thaksin may want to seek a royal pardon. However, in this scenario the former PM would have to wait for verdicts in several pending cases against him before he could receive a pardon.
In this case, Thaksin would have to re-enter the judicial process in Thailand.
“But when the court prepared to convict him, wouldn’t he flee again?” Nipit asked.