PM Yingluck reluctant to meet anti-graft committee Monday


BANGKOK, March 28 – Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra admitted today she was deeply concerned with her required clarifications to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on alleged irregularities in the rice pledging scheme on Monday.

She questioned whether the NACC has treated her fairly and in a manner and degree similar to other holders of political positions in the past, referring to the NACC’s refusal to extend the deadline for another 45 days as she requested.

The NACC, in turning down Ms Yingluck’s request, said it has already extended the deadline by 15 days and that the caretaker prime minister would be allowed to provide more evidence or documents in the questioning process.

Ms Yingluck said the NACC normally set up a sub-committee to investigate an allegation after which the conclusion is submitted to the full committee.

“In this case, the sub-committee investigation process was skipped and the NACC spent only 21 days to wrap up its investigation,” she said.

Ms Yingluck said she has received only 49 pages of documents concerning the rice pledging scheme and another 280 pages of documents were just sent to her while she has only three days to prepare for her explanations to the NACC.

“My question is whether the NACC has treated me fairly. I do hope I’ll be granted justice in the process like other holders of political positions,” she said.

She added that she would consult her legal advisers before deciding if she will personally give her clarifications to the NACC on Monday.

She would not comment on a speculation that she would be indicted in the case but said everyone should be treated fairly under the justice system.

Asked if she contemplated taking a break from politics, Ms Yingluck said she hasn’t thought about it yet since various processes are much far ahead but “I’m willing to act in accord with the people’s demand.”

“What we have to think now is what to do next after the Constitution Court nullified the Feb 2 general election. What can we do to let all factions accept the election process and let a general election take place?” she said.

She expressed hope that the Democrat Party, Thailand’s oldest political party, will cooperate with the Election Commission.

Asked whether ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has discouraged the Pheu Thai Party from contesting in the poll if the Democrat Party does not participate, she said decisions belong to Pheu Thai Party executives.

Asked if she would agree if the Shinawatra family refrain from political activity as a resolution to the country’s political impasse, Ms Yingluck said, “You’ve already heard the reply from Mr Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee.”

She said, “I’m performing my duty today to preserve democracy. I don’t hold on (to power). However, I’m willing to cooperate with whatever the people want that will bring peace to the country.

“You have to ask those who have disrupted many of the processes on whether they agree with it. I’m just part of the mechanism. I believe that various factions want resolutions. We have to discuss and move our country forward under the democratic framework.”