Shadow cabinet slams government’s one-year performance

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BANGKOK, Aug 24 – Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party on Friday gave the Yingluck Shinawatra government a ‘thumbs-down’ for failing to carry out six pre-election campaign projects as promised to the Thai people.

The Democrat shadow cabinet, led by party leader and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said it was representing the people in calling on the government to abide by its promises.

In a news conference on Friday on the occasion of the anniversary of the government’s first year in office, six shadow cabinet members stated the six unfulfilled projects, which include education loans for students, salary increases to Bt15,000 per month for bachelor’s degree employees,a Bt300 minimum wage nationwide and construction of 10 mass transit rail lines in Bangkok and its outskirts.

Mr Abhisit said it is the responsibility of the opposition to evaluate the government’s performance and act on the people’s behalf in demanding that the government keeps its promises.

Deputy party leader Apirak Kosayothin, in his capacity as shadow commerce minister, blamed the government for the skyrocketing cost of living and its failure to effectively exercise the critically-indebted Oil Fund.

He said the increases of salary for bachelor degree employee to Bt15,000 and daily minimum wage to Bt300 have been implemented in only seven provinces, and not nationwide as promised while the country’s overall cost of living has rapidly risen.

Kiat Sitthi-amorn, a shadow deputy prime minister, said prices of agricultural produce are in decline, a trend against the government’s policy.

Thailand’s revenue from rice exports has decreased after its first rank as the world’s rice exporter has slipped to the third, he said, adding that the prices of rubber and tapioca have also declined.

Household debt has increased to Bt110,000 baht per family, he claimed.

Jurin Laksanavisith, secretary general of the shadow cabinet, blamed the government for its inability to carry out the promised policy of national unity.

On the other hand, he said, there have been attempts to intimidate those opposing the government, including the Constitution Court.