Yingluck shrugs off 'stupid' comment on 1st day of censure

Yingluck shrugs off 'stupid' comment on 1st day of censure
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra

THAILAND - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday responded to persistent claims her administration is run by her brother, the former PM Thaksin, saying: "There is only one Thai Cabinet and it's led by me."

As for remarks from opposition MPs that she was "stupid", Yingluck said: "People who work with me know what I am." This is the first time that she has responded to this accusation.

The censure debate against Yingluck and Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan kicked off yesterday with a barrage of allegations from Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva over alleged mismanagement and abuse of power.

Abhisit claimed the level of corruption under the Yingluck government had more than doubled - and the problem meant the country lost as much as Bt235 billion (S$9.1 billion) per year.

He said huge level of graft had become a crisis of faith and that people had no choice but to take their grievances to the streets.

Abhisit came up with a long list of measures he said were dubious, namely the rice-pledging scheme, the Bt350-billion water-management scheme, Bt2-trillion loan bill for infrastructure and government moves to "destroy the checks and balances" by failing to set up median prices. He also slammed the government for trying to push through the controversial blanket amnesty bill.

Abhisit condemned the Yingluck government for its show of defiance against the Constitutional Court's ruling on the charter amendment draft seeking to have a fully elected Senate.

"If we do not do anything now, the country will go to chaos and eventually end up being a failed state."

He also alleged that assets Yingluck declared upon taking office were in conflict with what she had told a court earlier.

When testifying in her brother's Bt46-billion asset seizure case, Yingluck said she had had her niece purchase a Bt2.5 million (S$97,650) watch for her. However, in her asset declaration, she only reported nine watches worth a total of Bt1.8 million, he said.

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