Pheu Thai defends PM rice speech

The Pheu Thai Party on Wednesday slammed election commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn over his warning that caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could face legal trouble over a televised speech defending the cash-strapped rice-pledging scheme and blaming protesters for playing political games with it.

In a speech broadcast nationwide by the Television Pool of Thailand on Tuesday morning, Ms Yingluck accused her political foes of obstructing the implementation of the rice-pledging scheme, which she insisted was beneficial to farmers and the economy.  

“I am saddened and must apologise to the farmers as anti-government groups are holding rice growers hostage and blocking the government from effectively implementing the scheme,” she said.  

The speech drew wide criticism from opponents of the caretaker government and political observers and raised questions about whether her comments could be seen as a violation of the election law.  

Mr Somchai wrote on his Facebook page this morning, warning that Ms Yingluck should be wary of breaching the election law for using state-owned media to run her electoral campaign, given that an election is still underway and she is the No 1 party-list MP candidate of the Pheu Thai Party.  

He also said all state-controlled media outlets and government officials must be impartial toward all candidates. 

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit argued that Ms Yingluck’s speech had nothing to do with politics and questioned Mr Somchai’s impartiality as en election commissioner over his warning.

He said farmers were demanding answers on when the government could start paying them money they are owed for crops pledged under the rice programme. 

Ms Yingluck, in her capacity as caretaker prime minster, was duty bound to clarify the long overdue payments with the farmers and she could be accused of neglecting her duty if she did not, therefore her nationally broadcast speech on the rice scheme was necessary.

He accused Mr Somchai of trying to misguide people into the belief that the caretaker premier may have breached the election law and of siding with the Democrat Party. 

He also accused him of double standards for failing to denounce the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters for obstructing the Feb 2 polls. 

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 20/02/2014 at 06:25 PM
Silly question, PTP, Red shirts, Tida, Jatuporn etc. on a daily base.
Discussion 2 : 20/02/2014 at 05:23 PM
well, who blocks all the money? Who tells the bank not to lend money to pay the farmers. Who tell everyone in public that the farmers are stupid buffaloes and the goes around to collect money and says that he will give it to the farmer? 24 million Baht in his own pocket. Why does he not meet the farmers and give that donated money to them? I tell you why, because this is all only propaganda.
Discussion 3 : 20/02/2014 at 11:16 AM
How can anybody defend the indefensible?
Discussion 4 : 20/02/2014 at 07:27 AM
If when you say tweaked you mean CANCELLED ALTOGETHER then I agree with you.
Discussion 5 : 20/02/2014 at 02:59 AM
Why the PTP not suspend the police who did not keep the polling stations open?
Discussion 6 : 19/02/2014 at 09:42 PM
Reap what you sow, and the game is up. You have stolen all the money and now cannot pay what you owe. Like a gambling addict, you have nowhere to turn and nobody to blame but your greedy, corrupt selves.
Discussion 7 : 19/02/2014 at 08:38 PM
Could you point out a single sentence in her speech that did not distort facts or increase more division among Thai people?
Discussion 8 : 19/02/2014 at 08:03 PM
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit should pack tooth brush and hair gel in his plastic bag and head for prison to serve his sentence instead of making silly commands as usual.
Discussion 9 : 19/02/2014 at 07:58 PM
The EC owe those over 20 millions of people, who voted on Feb. 2, and millions of people, who were blocked to vote, why the central EC has never filed a single charge to any of those wrongdoers that blocked and obstructed the election. What took the EC so much time to file a single charge till now, since those crimes blocking and obstructing the election were committed weeks ago.
Discussion 10 : 19/02/2014 at 07:48 PM
Is there any reason why other parties participating in the election should not also be given time to make their views known? I believe this would be democratically just. BJT, CPP and others could be allotted air-time in proportion to their performance in previous elections. This is how matters are arranged in other democracies. Of course it would leave out the "Democrats" who have chosen not to take part.
Discussion 11 : 19/02/2014 at 07:48 PM
Anyone with half a brain knows the rice scheme has been a total disaster so far and needs to be tweaked seriously for it to continue.
Discussion 12 : 19/02/2014 at 07:43 PM
what a joke " PT defends the clones speech" of course they did ...it was their morning command from their master.....after a short nights sleep ahter writing her speech
Discussion 13 : 19/02/2014 at 07:40 PM
The Electoral Commission and especially Somchai cannot be called out often enough. Bravo to the Pheu Thai spokesman for standing up to the lies and distortions over the Prime Minister's speech.
Discussion 14 : 19/02/2014 at 07:39 PM
“I am saddened and must apologise to the farmers " - part from above. Had she stopped there then she probably would have gotten more mileage but the ensuing round of blaming everything but themselves yet again undid her. "He said farmers were demanding answers on when the government could start paying them money they are owed for crops pledged under the rice programme. " from above. Then tell them, but tell the truth and stick to it.
Discussion 15 : 19/02/2014 at 07:38 PM
What a surprise! The party faithful have lined up behind their cloned leader. How can she continue to blame the political unrest which started in November on her failure to pay the farmers since October. Now we have her asking the Thai people to deposit money to help pay the farmers and help with BAACs liquidity. The BAAC never had a liquidity issue. It was owed money by the government o pay the farmers and refused to dip into it's own resources to bail them out. A smart move, nobody ran on that bank. She has no position to clarify. They haven't paid, they can't pay and they may never pay, end of sentence!!

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