PM: No pressure on Yingluck to leave country

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BANGKOK, Feb 19 – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha does not think that the National Anti-Corruption Commission’s (NACC) request for the government to demand compensation for the loss-ridden and corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme would pressure former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who implemented the scheme, to flee the country.

Gen Prayut said he assigned Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam to consider legal aspects relating to the request for his government to sue Ms Yingluck but the issue should not prompt Ms Yingluck to flee the country as the NACC initiated the movement before his administration was established.

On Tuesday, the NACC resolved to ask the Ministry of Finance to demand Bt682 billion in compensation for rice-pledging scheme losses from Ms Yingluck.

As the attorney general will arraign Ms Yingluck on the rice scheme at the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions today, Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Tritos Sonjaeng said there should be no problem and all parties should understand that the country needed peace and order to progress.

Meanwhile, Gen Prayut expressed his satisfaction with the work of his cabinet in the past six months. He said all cabinet ministers worked hard to save the country and he did not plan a cabinet reshuffle.

Regarding finance for the Thai-Chinese medium-speed railway project, the prime minister said the Chinese government planned to charge a 2.5 per cent interest rate but his government would try to have it cut to 2 per cent or lower.

If the rate is not cut, the government may look for another funding source, Gen Prayut said.