Transport minister says infrastructure projects could be delayed with dropping of 2 trillion baht loan bill

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BANGKOK, 13 March 2014 Transport Minister Chatchart Sitthiphan indicated on Wednesday the government would comply with the ruling by the Constitution Court, which determined the 2 trillion baht infrastructure loan bill to be unconstitutional. 

Minister Chatchart admitted that the national strategy involving transportation development projects would likely be delayed, even though the Ministry of Transport would continue to push ahead with its 53 projects. He said the incoming administration would be able to procure budget for the projects by either issuing a public debt bill, utilizing deficit budget, or taking out ‘economy stimulation’ loans.

According to Prime Minister’s Office Minister Warathep Rattanakorn, the government will study the ruling by the Constitution Court, although he personally believes the government need not take responsibility for the loan bill being dropped by the court, because the bill did receive approval by Parliament.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Chaturon Chaisaeng made Facebook posts asserting that there are 3 problematic issues with the Constitution Court’s verdict. The court may be interfering with the work of the legislative branch, because rulings on such an issue should be made by Parliament and not by the court. The court may also be interfering with the work of the executive branch, in making decisions about what projects should be undertaken. Finally, the court’s verdict may contradict its earlier ruling that deemed the issuance of a loan bill for the Thai Khem Khaeng initiative, under the Democrat administration, constitutional.