Rubber planters carry first protest to Government House

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BANGKOK, Sept 6 – Rubber planters on Tuesday rallied at the residence of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra before moving to Government House, urging a probe of alleged corruption within the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund Office, in the first demonstration since the Pheu Thai-led coalition government took office last month.

Some 60 members of the Rubber Holder Co-Operatives Federation of Thailand (RCFT), led by vice president Somporn Sangsomboon, marched to the premier’s home early this morning to submit a letter of complaint demanding an investigation of what they called non-transparent administration of the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund Office executives.

The group also urged setting up a panel to probe alleged irregularities on the purchase of chemical fertilisers by the aid fund office and take action against those responsible for the 800,000-rai para rubber plantation project which could not be proceed as the Rubber Replanting Aid Fund Office could not provide saplings to the planters in time.

The complaint letter was received by Col Phuritat Chankaew, a member of the premier’s secretariat team, who said would forward the complaint to the prime minister, while saying Ms Yingluck was not at her home at the time as she’s under stress with the work.

It is however reported the premier was staying in her home amid tight security during the unexpected visit of the protesters, which is the first group of protesters who turned up outside her home since she officially took office after delivering policy statement to the parliament late August.

Col Phuritat then led the group of protesters to Government House to lodge their complaint at the public service centre of the Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Prime Minister’s Office.

Maj Gen Thawat Boonfueng, deputy secretary-general of the prime minister received the letter by himself and discusses with the protester representatives.

Gen Thawat pledged to the rubber planters that the government will consider and proceed the case.