The opposition is ready to let the 3.2 trillion baht budget bill for 2020 pass its first reading in the House of Representatives if the Government agrees to the Opposition's changes to what they see as flaws in the fiscal budget.
Opposition chief whip, Mr. Suthin Klangsaeng, said today (Wednesday) that the Opposition will make the public interest the top priority, point out the flaws in the budget and suggest improvements.
If (the Government) agrees to accept and correct its flaws, we may let the budget bill pass. This is our intention. If the Government does not, we have no choice but to use our capability to vote against, said Mr Suthin.
A total of 106 opposition party member, including 66 from the Pheu Thai and 33-35 from the Future Forward, have offered to speak in the debate.
The Opposition chief whip, however, assured that their MPs will not be repetitive and there should be no reason for House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to intervene.
He noted that, since the extraordinary parliamentary session for deliberation of the budget bill does not specify the timeframe for the session, the debate should be extended to 3 or 5 days, adding that, if it is limited to just two days, each MP will have less than five minutes to speak.
Suthin said that Opposition MPs will be free to speak on issues with which they are familiar and there is no fixed order in which they will speak. There may be five speakers from five parties on one issue, he added.
The Opposition parties will meet to discuss how they will vote at the end of the debate, and we won't necessarily vote against the bill, he said.
Former finance minister and Democrat party-list MP Korn Chatikavanich said in his Facebook post today that the budget bill needs to be substantially amended because it does not reflect the reality of the country and does not offer answers to the problems of the people.
He said Democrat MPs will take part in the debate and will try to point out the four main issues which need to be rectified, namely economic problems, inequality, bread and butter issues and efficient and fair tax collection.
The budget bill is due for debate tomorrow and Friday.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)