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Questions being asked about Thaksin’s Phuket jaunt

PHOTO: Matichon

Questions are being asked about Thaksin Shinawatra’s recent trip to Phuket, with the former PM’s motives under scrutiny. The former PM and prison inmate is currently on parole under, apparently, strict conditions.

Thaksin himself insists it was a leisure trip, aimed at promoting tourism on the island. However, opposition MPs want to know why he was taken to inspect various projects on the island and held meeting with local officials.

The former PM is technically still on probation, as he is out on parole. Having returned to Thailand from self-imposed exile in Dubai, he was sentenced on historical corruption charges and jailed for 8 years.

However, on his first night in prison, Thaksin fell “ill” and was immediately transferred to the Police General Hospital. While still there, his sentence was reduced to 1 year under a royal pardon.

Thaksin never returned to prison, remaining in hospital for 6 months, until he was paroled on the grounds of his age and health problems, as well as the fact that he’d served half his sentence (albeit in a hospital, not a prison…)

Thaksin arrived in Phuket on Monday, April 29, and left yesterday. Opposition MPs are now questioning if his trip violated his parole conditions.

Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat, a Move Forward MP for Bangkok says no questions would be asked if Thaksin had kept a low profile in Phuket. Instead, he was seen visiting a number of development projects and “making suggestions”.

Nattacha says even if this doesn’t violate Thaksin’s parole conditions, it still isn’t the done thing. He points out that officials would struggle to explain to other parolees why they couldn’t have the same travel privileges.

“What Thaksin is doing might not be illegal, but the bigger question is, was it appropriate?”

Nattacha went on to say that Thaksin’s every move since his release has garnered more media attention that the government’s mobile cabinet meetings. The Move Forward MP says this sends the message that the former PM can do as he pleases as the government is on his side.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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