Thai MPs are shameless

20 05 2009

Recently we heard that the Daily Telegraph newspaper has published leaked documents showing how British MPs claimed from the public purse for everything from food and drink to maintenance work for a swimming pool, a tennis court and even a castle moat. When that news broke out, I talked to my sister that that MP will soon resign. True to form, Michael Martin, the speaker of the House of Commons announced his resignation.

“In order that unity can be maintained, I have decided that I will relinquish the office of speaker on Sunday June 21” said Michael Martin, who resigned over an MPs’ expenses scandal which has plunged Britain into its worst political crisis for years and outraged voters. 


Another case which is still fresh in my memory is the case of Japan’s Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa who resigned, amid claims that he was drunk at a recent G7 meeting.

Looking back at the current affairs in Thailand where a first time MP from Bhumjaithai Party Chartchai Pookyaporn is asked to quit for failing to attend party meetings and join in other party activities, he initially seemed to have accepted the offer. I remember I said  “Wow if this is true, we can have write a new chapter in Thai politics”.  For me, it is difficult to see  any member of parliament to offer to quit  as he has everything to gain.

True to my expectation, he reversed his decision saying that he will not quit as deputy agriculture minister and will try to attend all party meetings and activities from now on. For Thai MP, once grabs the opportunity to sit in the parliament, you can not expect them to leave the seat unless you offer them something bigger. This might not be fair to a Democrat Minister who resigned earlier. But his case is rare and very special.

In Chartchai’s case, he may have a will to fight the party but Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul insists he will replace Chartchai Pookyaporn as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister despite his insistence on staying in the cabinet. The party annual assembly to be held on 21 May is an intersting event to watch: Can Chartchai survive in his struggle for power?


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