The Ministry of Defence gave up on its plan to buy a new warship, at an estimated cost of 6.1 billion baht, following heavy criticism from opposition parties and the public on Tuesday, according to reporters from the Government House of Thailand.
It was reported earlier that General Chaichan Changmongkol, permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Defence, had prepared to propose the procurement of an amphibious assault ship, at an expected budget of more than 6.1 billion baht, at the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. But it appears that General Chaichan had already removed this proposal from the meeting’s agenda.
Pracharchart Sirisawat, a spokesperson from the Royal Thai Navy, however, mentioned that there were no plans to make this proposal on Tuesday at the meeting, as the plan to purchase the ship had apparently been approved since November last year.
Instead, the proposal on Tuesday had only intended to be a discussion regarding inspection of the ship and preparation to train the Navy once the outbreak had subsided.
The news of the proposal has received widespread criticism from the public, both online and offline, as netizens expressed anger at the government’s disillusionment about the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak, saying that it is a crisis that requires immediate attention and funds for medical supplies and necessities for frontline health workers — not a ship. The hashtag #กูสั่งให้มึงเลิกซื้ออาวุธ (I’m ordering you to stop buying weapons) is now top trending on Twitter.