Intellasia East Asia News – Pheu Thai pushes for coalition to reject budget

The Pheu Thai Party on Sunday announced it will vote against the national budget and has urged coalition parties to follow suit in a bid to sink the government.

The main opposition party has resolved not to pass the bill, due to enter parliament on May 31 for its first reading, according to MP Yutthapong Charassathien, who is also Pheu Thai deputy leader.

The party has accused the government of preparing a budget that will neither adequately tackle the Covid-19 pandemic nor end economic woes.

Assuming it passes its first reading, it will be debated and voted on at the second and third reading stages between May 31-June 2.

Mr Yutthapong also asked coalition parties which disagreed with the way the government is handling national problems to shun the bill.

This could force the government into holding an election as parliament cannot proceed without a legitimate budget having been passed.

“I ask that the coalition parties stop keeping this government afloat,” he said.

He also slammed the freshly approved 700-billion-baht loan to combat the public health crisis, saying it will only add to the heavy burden of the 1-trillion-baht borrowed after the initial outbreak last year.

Of that sum, only 45 billion baht has been disbursed so far, said Mr Yutthapong.

He said the government should cut back on the defence budget if it really needs another injection of capital. Spending should go on projects to assist those worst affected by the crisis, he said.

On May 18, the cabinet approved a Defence Ministry loan citing economic and social development purposes, yet some of that has already been set aside for military spending on construction of a runway and aircraft maintenance centre, said Mr Yutthapong.

Pledges to reduce defence spending had merely resulted in extra army spending in other guises, added the MP.

The government has failed to make good on its pledge to reduce the defence budget.

Meanwhile, government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek yesterday clarified what she said were misconceptions swirling around government spending during the next fiscal year, the defence budget and the central bank’s losses.

She said the planned 624 billion baht of investment funding, despite being below the 700 billion baht secured to shore up the budget deficit, would not result in a breach of the Fiscal Discipline Act.

Last week, the Budget Bureau suggested that additional funds worth 76 billion baht be raised which would bring the total to 700 billion baht, which is in line with the legal requirement.

Ms Rachada also dismissed claims the defence budget for the coming fiscal year would outstrip the public health fund, saying the opposite is true.


Category: Thailand

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