Deputy House Speaker defends trip to Singapore

Facing criticism for leading an expensive group trip to Singapore, Deputy House Speaker Padipat Suntiphada has stated his readiness to report expense details to the cabinet upon his return to Thailand.

In an interview on 18 September 2023, the Deputy House Speaker responded to criticism raised by Pongpol Yodmuangcharoen, deputy spokesperson of the United Thai Nation Party, about his spending 1,379,250 Baht on a Singapore trip for a group of 12 people. Padipat said he welcomed an enquiry.

Padipat stated that the trip to Singapore was a working visit to learn about technology for parliament and pollution management. The group will also visit a Thai labour camp in Singapore and Thai student representatives at the National University of Singapore.

He explained that he requested a low-cost airline but was told that the Ministry of Finance stipulates that high-rank officials fly on a Thai national airline.

As for the hotel, the Deputy House Speaker made it clear that he and his group requested rooms priced between 7,000-8,000 from a maximum budget of 12,000 Baht.

The Deputy House Speaker asserted that the MPs travelling on the trip, namely MP Natthaphong Ruengpanyawut, who is an expert in technology, and MP Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, who is on the Young Parliament subcommittee, will play an important role in the working visit.

Asked whether pollution matters are a concern of the parliament, Padipat stated that pollution management involves regulations and international relations. He added that when the parliament and government have similar policies, global issues can be more easily addressed.

The Deputy House Speaker affirmed his intent to make parliament transparent and expressed his readiness to be scrutinised. He added that If the government aims for fiscal consolidation, it should not be limited to the legislative branch, but also include independent organisations and civil servants.

He reasserted that he is ready to be examined. He will expose the details of the trip’s expenses upon returning to the country.


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