The government is planning to pass legislation that would absolve key decision-makers of any wrongdoing in the failure to procure vaccines for the country, according to the opposition Move Forward Party.
The government’s languid vaccination program has been criticized by the public and politicians alike for contributing to a mounting death toll and an uncontrolled third wave of the pandemic.
The government failed the move speedily to secure vaccines and rejected Pfizer and other effective vaccines as far back as November instead relying on the ineffective Sinovacs Vaccine and the much-delayed locally-produced AstraZeneca jabs.
In a leaked document secured by the Move Forward Party, the government seems to recognize this failure and aims on passing legislation that would exempt from criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits those that decided the country’s vaccination path.
If the leaked document is to be believed that would mean that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul would be exempt from any future prosecution.
“The people or group of people responsible for deciding our vaccine policy should be willing to defend their case in the justice system. Right or wrong will be decided by the courts. They should not pass a law that grants them amnesty beforehand, this is like a coup,” said Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a MP with the Move Forward Party on Sunday.
General Prayut Chan-ocha came to power, in-part, because of a similar attempt to pass an amnesty bill by the democratically-elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra. The bill spurred massive street protests that deteriorated the political situation and gave opportunity for the army to seize power.
The Prayut coup government eventually found Yingluck and members of her cabinet guilty of malfeasance and negligence.