Prolific activist and petitioner Srisuwan Janya (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
Activist Srisuwan Janya has asked the national anti-corruption agency to investigate at least seven opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai party who were seen having lunch with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in Singapore this week, accusing them of breaching Parliament’s code of conduct.
They deliberately broke the code by traveling to Singapore to meet Thaksin, now a fugitive living in self-imposed exile, and such conduct may undermine public confidence in his ability to fulfill his duty as a constituent representative, Mr Srisuwan said , who is the general secretary of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution of Thailand. He therefore asked the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate this alleged misconduct and to prosecute the MPs if found guilty, he said.
His action follows media reports of the meeting that also allegedly included Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who is also a fugitive former prime minister.
The seven MPs pictured with Thaksin released by local media include Kriang Kantinan, a key Pheu Thai figure in the northeast; Chuwit Phithakphonphanlop, Pheu Thai MP of Ubon Ratchathani; and Somying Buabut, MP Pheu Thai from Amnat Charoen.
Thaksin and Yingluck would have stayed in Singapore since last Sunday for an annual physical check-up, a source said, adding that they were to stay until Saturday.
The reported meeting drew criticism over whether it was appropriate for this group to meet, given that Thaksin fled a prison sentence for several crimes.
These include the double- and triple-digit lottery misconduct case, the Exim Bank 4 billion baht loan scandal and the Shin Corp shareholder candidate case.
Mr Kriang, meanwhile, claimed the meeting between himself and the other MPs and Thaksin was unplanned, describing it more as a “coincidence”.
“I went there on March 7 and spent one night before bumping into Thaksin at the restaurant. He was there with his younger brother, Payap Shinawatra,” Mr Kriang said.
“We were traveling in a group of over 20 people and came across Thaksin. We didn’t make any appointments to meet him,” he said. “And Mr Payap wasn’t expecting us there in Singapore even though we all ended up flying home on the same flight.”
Mr Kriang also claimed that he and the MPs who met with Thaksin and Yingluck did not discuss politics.
Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew said MPs’ itinerary and meetings in Singapore had no connection or bearing on the party.