January 26, 2024
BANGKOK – After the Constitutional Court ended the suspension on Wednesday with a ruling that he was fully qualified to contest the general election last year, Pita returned to work and attended a House meeting on Thursday. He was suspended as an MP on July 11 after the court accepted a complaint by the Election Commission for a judicial review.
As he emerged from his van, he was greeted by hordes of waiting reporters and camerapersons. Many people, who were in Parliament for business, officials, and students on internship rushed out to welcome him.
Pita paused and smilingly waved to his supporters amid the flashing lights from cameras.
Many Move Forward MPs were also waiting to receive him and accompanied him to the convention hall.
Reporters noticed that Pita was wearing the same blue necktie that he wore on the day he was suspended from duty.
Before entering the convention hall, Pita told reporters that he felt the familiar warmth once he stepped out of his van.
He said he had missed the atmosphere during the time he was away.
He said he was sorry that he could not work for six months, but added that he had spent the time fruitfully, going out to visit people to hear their grievances.
He said he would use the information he had gathered from his visits in Samut Prakan to hold a debate on the garbage issue on Friday.
Pita said he would also announce Move Forward’s plans for 2024 on Friday so that the people and ordinary members of the party could follow and participate in the party’s activities.
Pita apologised to the public about the sexual scandals related to certain MPs that broke out when he was suspended from duty.
“I accepted those mistakes with sorrow. I must issue an apology to the people. But I must let Chaithawat Tulathon perform his duty as the party leader,” Pita said.
On the question whether he would return to the helm of the party so that he could become the opposition leader, Pita said the issue must be decided by party members during the party’s caucus in April.
He said the caucus needed not to be moved up as he and Chaithawat himself did not care about the positions.
When asked whether he had any message for the government and Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, Pita said Move Forward would cooperate with the government on issues that would benefit the people, such as the enactment of equal marriage rights bill, progressive liquor bill and charter amendments.
“I’ll adhere to the people’s interest and I won’t oppose anything. I’ll be opposed to the issues that are not right,” Pita said.
He said Move Forward does not agree with the government on several issues, such as the southern land bridge project, the digital wallet scheme and the soft power promotion scheme.
On the southern land bridge project, Pita said the government should have more details on the micro- and macro-economic impacts and should provide alternative measures.
On the digital wallet scheme, Pita said he disagreed with the use of long-term budget liability for short-term economic stimulus and the government should consider supporting people’s small economic stimulus projects instead.
Pita said he believed he would not have to leave the House again after his return as he and the party were confident they have done their best to defend themselves in another case on which the Constitutional Court’s ruling was expected next week.
In the second case, Pita and the party are accused of seeking to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy system through their campaign for amendments to Article 112 of the Criminal Code, or the lese majeste law.
“We have done our best in the part that we can control about the case. We have confidence [of winning the case],” Pita concluded.