The main opposition Pheu Thai Party will submit a no-confidence motion against at least five cabinet ministers to parliament, with the government’s planned procurement of 8.5 million sets of Chinese-made antigen test kits among the issues targeted for censure.
Along with this, Deputy Pheu Thai leader Yutthapong Charasathien said the ministers are Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on and Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin.
The opposition parties were also discussing the possible inclusion of Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn on the list, and this is what Mr Yutthapong shared. However, Gen Prayut will be the primary target for censure over several issues including the planned procurement of two Chinese-made submarines.
The move came after Gen Prayut put the brakes on the navy’s controversial submarine procurement plan, citing the urgent need to divert funds to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to this, Mr Yutthapong shared that the opposition will also take aim at Mr Anutin over irregularities in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines, despite promises about widespread availability, and the ATKs.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) has insisted it will proceed with its plan to procure 8.5 million sets of ATKs from Ostland Capital, saying the equipment meets quality standards despite them having been pulled from the shelves in the United States.
The Sars-CoV-2 Antigen and Leccurate Antibody Test, produced by Lepu Medical Technology, were recalled in the United States on May 28 due to “a high risk of false results”, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. However, Paisan Dankum, secretary-general of the Thai Food and Drug Administration, defended the test kits, saying the brands have been endorsed by several countries.
Morever, Mr Yutthapong said the opposition camp plans to highlight the relationship between Mr Anutin and the owner of Nusasiri Plc, one of the firms involved. They were classmates at the National Defence College. Nusasiri Plc, a property development company, was appointed by Ostland Capital to take part in the bidding and act as a dealer of the ATKs.