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Amnesty bill readings postponed to mid-Nov

Posted by Rattana_S On October - 27 - 2013

THE HOUSE of Representatives is expected to deliberate the Amnesty Bill in the second and third readings in mid-November at the earliest, chief government whip Aumnuay Khlangpha said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Aumnuay’s deputy Paijit Sreewarakan said the ruling Pheu Thai Party would order its MPs to vote in support of the draft law instead of allowing them to vote freely.

Aumnuay, on the other hand, said the party had yet to discuss again on how MPs could vote.

Aumnuay said the House ad hoc committee vetting the amnesty bill would submit its report to House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont later this month and it would be for Somsak to decide when to schedule the House meeting on the agenda. However, there were still some laws for the House to consider so it would be impossible for the amnesty bill to be deliberated on in the first week of November.

Pheu Thai MP Chavalit Vichayasuthi, secretary of the House ad hoc committee vetting the amnesty bill, said the panel would meet again tomorrow to approve the report and then submit to Somsak.

The amended version of the amnesty bill that would give blanket amnesty was deemed final by the committee. A total of 197 MPs and committee members who disagreed would be allowed to speak on the House floor.

Chavalit said that in his opinion, passing this amnesty bill is the right thing to do. Amendment of Article 309 of the Constitution, which is the provision protecting the conduct of coup-makers and the consequences, would be too complicated and would encounter strong opposition.

Paijit said the amnesty bill is a very important issue. Allowing MPs to vote freely might affect confidence in the government and the coalition parties. The party’s strategic committee also agreed to order a bloc vote.

Paijit said that although MPs from the red shirts group disagreed with the amended draft and supported the original draft submitted by MP Worachai Hema, they would not cause much trouble as there were not so many of them. The worst thing they could do would be to abstain from voting.

Democrat MP Ongart Klampai-boon said that the Pheu Thai-dominated committee last week expedited the meeting, turned down all altered clauses proposed by opposition MPs and the minority and refused to allow all opposition members to speak.

Some MPs had earlier expected the House meeting for the amnesty bill deliberation to be scheduled for November 6.

Meanwhile, International Court of Justice is scheduled to hand down its verdict on the Preah Vihear Temple’s vicinity on November 11. It is seen as a possible time bomb that could lead to domestic political unrest.

In a separate development, Thai Patriotic Front leader Chaiwat Sinsuwong said yesterday his group would rally outside the residence of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra this afternoon, calling on the government to reject the ICJ’s jurisdiction in the Preah Vihear case.

He said the decision to rally outside the PM’s house was made because it was so difficult to meet her, when she was supposed to listen to the voice of the people.

Green Politics coordinator Suriyasai Katasila, an anti-government activist, said key members of the People’s Alliance Reforming Thailand would join an all-day meeting at Thammasat University’s auditorium at the Tha Phrachan campus to evaluate the national situation and discuss anti-government activities.

The participants would join in a mourning ceremony to honour the late Supreme Patriarch before the start of the meeting.

Meanwhile, Uhtai Yodmanee, a leader of the Students’ and People’s Network for Thailand Reform said he would today file a complaint with police after protesters at the Urupong intersection were attacked with Ma Mui, an itchy plant, for the second time yesterday morning. A dozen of them had to be sent to hospital due to allergy. Uthai brought the bottles and containers of Ma Mui suspected to have been dropped from the expressway running above the rally site.

Nitithorn Lamlua, another leader, said the group might station some people on the expressway to guard the protesters.

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