Updated: Keeping taxpayers in the dark

23 08 2010

It seems – at least according to a report in the Bangkok Post – that Abhisit Vejjajiva is reluctant to allow taxpayers to hear and see all of the debates on the budget. This would seem a little odd when Abhisit talks endlessly of transparency.

While it was the Puea Thai Party that complained, “accusing the government of banning a planned live broadcast of the budget bill debate because it wants to keep the public in the dark about some allocations,” the Post seems to agree.

Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday substantial sums had been allocated to provinces represented by MPs from coalition parties.

PTP says “the government decided to ban the broadcast of the debate, which resumes tomorrow, to keep the public from learning that provinces not represented by coalition MPs would receive minimal funding.” With no live broadcast, the parliament is due to debate more than 200 billion baht to the Interior Ministry.

Such vast amounts are considered  essential by the coalition parties because they believe they can buy political support.

Update: Under considerable pressure, the government has apparently agreed to broadcast the debate. However, Abhisit apparently demanded that: “the parliament speaker must keep a tight rein on MPs from the opposition to ensure they stick to the budget topics being debated and not spend too much time straying from the point.” Keeping the lid on….


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