Opposition chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng warned this morning, ahead of the debate on the budget bill, that any Pheu Thai MPs who do not vote with the Opposition against the bill will be barred from contesting the next election on the party's ticket.

He said that he rejects the argument of the smaller parties that the 3.2 trillion baht budget bill for 2020 fiscal year must be passed by the House of Representatives, otherwise the people will be affected due to lack of funding for its various projects and policies.

Even if the budget bill fails its first reading in parliament, he said there are still residual funds from the 2019 fiscal year and advance budgets that can be used by the government to ease the problems on temporary basis.

Mr. Suthin complained about the 18 hour speaking time given to government and opposition MPs, saying that it is inadequate and has forced the Opposition to reduce the number of speakers from 106 to 95.

Six ministries and the Central Fund will be targeted for intense grilling by the Opposition. They include the Agriculture, Commerce, Defence, Finance, Interior and Education ministries and the Central Fund.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, however, said that the 18 hours each for the Government and the Opposition is the longest time ever allowed for debate of a budget bill.

2020 budget allocation at a glance (top 9 ministries):

Central Fund 518,700.9 billion baht

Education Ministry 368,660.3 billion baht

Interior Ministry 353,007.4 billion baht

Finance Ministry 249,675.9 billion baht

Defence Ministry 233,353.4 billion baht

Transport Ministry 178,840.0 billion baht

University, Science, Research and Innovations Ministry 140,444.5 billion baht

Public Health Ministry 138,735.3 billion baht

Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Ministry 109,833.6 billion baht

Labour Ministry 60,878.3 billion baht

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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