Democrats put defence minister in hot seat


BANGKOK, Nov 16 – The opposition Democrat Party today officially called on the Thai parliament to strip Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat of his ministerial post for abusing his power. 

Democrat MP Pusadee Tamthai submitted a letter, endorsed by 153 MPs, to Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanich seeking ACM Sukumpol’s dismissal for malfeasance and breach of the law in issuing an unlawful order to strip Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva of his acting sub-lieutenant rank.

The defence minister is not authorised to strip the rank of a person who is no longer in state service, the letter states, adding that Adm Sukumpol intentionally and hurriedly wanted to cause damage to Mr Abhisit given an earlier announcement in the Pheu Thai party that Mr Abhisit would be stripped of his rank by the end of October.

The Democrats related Adm Sukumpol’s maneouvring to its planned no-confidence debate against the government.

The parliament spokesman said he would check the authenticity of the 153 signatures before submitting the letter to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.