Push for amnesty bill may bring chaos: critic
A critic of the government warned yesterday that the ruling Pheu Thai Party's push for early deliberation by the House of Representatives of an amnesty bill could lead to a new round of political conflict, but this concern was rejected by a senior government figure.
Suriyasai Katasila, coordinator of the Green Politics Group and a critic of the ruling party, said Pheu Thai had possibly launched this new "assault" because it was confident of majority control in the House. He added that the party was trying to rush through the legislation because its ultimate goal is to help its patriarch, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, get out of his legal tangle.
"They seem to underestimate their enemies, which could renew the political conflict and lead to a new round of confrontations after Songkran," Suriyasai warned.
"It is not right for them to abuse their majority without any respect to righteousness," he said. "I think their next goal is to push for the passage of a bill on reconciliation, which in fact aims to whitewash Thaksin's wrongdoings."
However, the prime minister's secretary-general, Suranand Vejjajiva, said yesterday that he did not believe Pheu Thai's latest move would "heat up the politics", adding that any conflict over the matter should be limited to the Parliament.
"The political heat should be under democratic rules, and the matter should be discussed among parliamentarians," he said.
Suranand said he did not wish to see any more street protests and believed many Thais agreed with him. He also said the government wanted to bring about political reconciliation in the country.
Pheu Thai MPs plan to ask for their amnesty bill, proposed by the party's Samut Prakan MP Worachai Hema, to be moved to the top of the House agenda on Thursday.
Most Pheu Thai MPs agree that this motion is "urgent", according to the party's Nakhon Phanom MP Paijit Sriworakhan, who is a deputy government chief whip.
Noppadon Patama, Thaksin's legal adviser, said Pheu Thai MPs would not be allowed to vote freely at the House session, as they would have to follow the decision made by the party at a meeting tomorrow. He said many MPs wanted the amnesty bill to be discussed urgently in order to help red-shirt protesters still in detention for their involvement with the political unrest and riots in 2010.