Coalition partner parties add to mounting government criticisms

A growing number of parliamentarians from coalition partner parties are criticizing the government’s Covid-19 response plan, adding to the mounting criticisms aimed at Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.

Thailand is currently fighting its most severe wave of the Covid-19 pandemic with infection rates climbing into the quadruple digits and the death toll mounting.

With a vaccine program that has not yet materialized in any substantial way, and the government reticent to introduce a lockdown, opposition party members and the public have been highly critical of the government’s response.

On Monday night, the Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul deflected responsibility for the third wave of the pandemic by shifting blame to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and saying that every decision was made by the premier. (Read more here)

In his tell-all Facebook post, Anutin said that his ministry had constantly advised the government on the correct decision but the prime minister and the covid emergency response centre were making decisions unilaterally.

Growing criticisms

Since his public post, other members of the governing coalition have come out to add to the chorus of criticisms aimed at Prayut.

Suphachai Jaismut, another MP from Anutin’s Bhumjai Thai Party, posted on Facebook that the government’s decision making over the course of the crisis has been poor.

The government should have deferred to the doctors and health experts at the public health ministry, according to the BJT MP.

“The use of emergency laws and the establishment of an overseeing body is what the prime minister is used to,” Suphachai said. “But sitting on the body are political and national security people instead of public health experts.”

Other MPs like the Democrat’s Panich Vikriseth are singling out the government’s vaccination program.

“The biggest problem since has been the procurement of vaccines,” Panich told Thai Enquirer. “If you do not have the vaccines to prevent a new wave of the pandemic then the process is incomplete. They have totally failed in this point.”

Panich also blasted the government for dragging its feet in allowing the private sector to acquire vaccines on their own, adding that “this should not be happening.”

Panich also questioned the government’s decision making in allowing the Songkran holidays to go ahead despite warnings from the public health sector that the decision would be disastrous.

“As you can see, the numbers shot up after Songkran as many expected,” he said. “Now [a lockdown] is too late.”

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