Opposition slams new cabinet reshuffle

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BANGKOK, June 27 – Thailand’s Opposition Democrat Party slammed the upcoming cabinet reshuffle today, saying it was a reaction to the heavily-criticised rice pledging scheme which resulted in losses and a lack of transparency.

Democrat party-list MP Ong-ard Klampaiboon said the government cannot deny that the reshuffle was a result of the government’s rice pledging scheme which was opposed by many concerned parties, adding that the new cabinet line-up seems not to address the problems.

Mr Ong-ard elaborated that the fifth cabinet reshuffle is aimed at solving the conflict within the government rather than tackling the country’s problems and those who direct the policies are the same people.

Rumours of the big cabinet reshuffle swirled recently involving about 20 positions, with new names on the lists and several ministers being dismissed.

Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat were reportedly not in the new line-up.

Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol today said he is unworried if he is dismissed from the cabinet, saying that it’s up to the premier’s decision.

A news report also claimed that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will take the defence minister’s portfolio herself.

ACM Sukumpol said he believes the commanders of the armed forces will accept a female defence minister as in other countries such as Spain, where a pregnant woman is defence minister.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who oversees the national police bureau and southern insurgency, is likely to be dismissed from the deputy premiership but instead may take up the post of labour minister.

Mr Chalerm commented that he is ready to become labour minister, but if possible, he preferred to remain in the deputy prime minister’s seat.

Mr Chalerm however said he is willing to take any post assigned by the prime minister as she must thoroughly think about the reshuffle before taking decision.