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B22.5bn sub buy gets nod

BANGKOK: A House subcommittee scrutinising the budget bill for the fiscal 2021 approved the navy’s controversial procurement of two submarines worth B22.5 billion from China, though not unanimously.

economicsCOVID-19military
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 22 August 2020, 09:52AM


The Chinese-made Yuan-class sub has an air independent propulsion system that allows it to stay submerged for up to three weeks. Photo: YouTube via Bangkok Post

The Chinese-made Yuan-class sub has an air independent propulsion system that allows it to stay submerged for up to three weeks. Photo: YouTube via Bangkok Post

Critics of the defence spending are ramping up the pressure by demanding a review of the armed forces’ weapons procurement plans including those on the submarine purchases so more money could be saved and injected into efforts to help solve the country’s economic problems caused by COVID-19, rpeorts the Bangkok Post.

Yutthapong Jarassathian, a Pheu Thai Party MP and deputy chairman of the subcommittee under the House committee on durable product items, state enterprises, ICT equipment and revolving funds, told a press briefing yesterday (Aug 21) that the subcommittee considered the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) budget request for the purchase of the two submarines for a second time.

In the first meeting, the subcommittee had to put the matter on hold because it could not decide whether to allow the RTN to buy the submarines, Mr Yutthapong said.

The RTN told the subcommittee that it has already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to buy three submarines from China, he said.

According to the RTN, the purchase of the first submarine was already completed, using the money from the 2017 budget, and it will be delivered in 2024, he said.

However, at Friday’s meeting, the RTN showed the MoU for the purchase of the first submarine to the subcommittee, but the document does not say that Thailand was obliged to buy the other two submarines, Mr Yutthapong said.

The MoU only states that if a dispute occurs over the terms of the agreement, the two sides will hold talks and resolve it amicably without the need to take the matter to court, Mr Yutthapong said, adding the MoU was signed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Chinese defence minister.

“I was among the subcommittee members who opposed the purchase. But the RTN insisted that it was for the sake of marine security. However, I argued that the country is struggling with economic problems and people are having hard times,” Mr Yutthapong said.

ZENITHY POOL VILLAS

The meeting had differing views on the issue and could not reach a conclusion. The meeting had to stop for a break before resuming for a vote.

The vote was initially tied at 4-4 so Supol Fongngam, the chairman of the committee from the Palang Pracharath Party decided to vote in favour of the purchase, resulting in a tally of 5-4 for approval.

Mr Yutthapong said that he and those who voted against it will continue to oppose the purchase of the submarines.

“The prime minister must choose between the submarines and the economic survival of the people. How come the government favours the submarines over people’s livelihoods?” Mr Yutthapong said.

Krumanit Sangphum, a Pheu Thai MP who voted against the purchase plan, said that currently there was no need to buy the submarines given the economic hardship people were experiencing.

“We do not oppose the plan, but we want it to be delayed. Over the past five years, the military has spent more budget money than almost every other ministry,” Mr Krumanit said.

 

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Capt B | 25 August 2020 - 18:05:40

Chinese Maritime Junk, a total waste of money. Thai Navy is far better off with Surface Attack Craft fully equipped for anti Chinese Navy Submarine warfare 

Kurt | 23 August 2020 - 09:57:54

Anyway, the subs buy is still 50% in stage of a 'Memorandum of Understanding'. If there are already contracts then like many international airlines cancelled/delay new aircraft orders with AirBus and Boeing, so Thai Government can still do the same with the subs, and use the money for welfare of Thai people during these difficult Covid-19 times.

Kurt | 23 August 2020 - 09:33:57

Since 2014 Thai 'Defence' is the Ministry with highest budget of all Ministries. and it keeps increasing year after year. (BP), and for what? Anyway, as long so very much money go there, then Thai people are not starving of hunger, right? A Good Government would set priorities in budgeting if Thai peoples welfare need it. Right?

Capricornball | 23 August 2020 - 09:33:07

Wow...the extent to which these people are out of touch is truly baffling. Even in a flush economy, the purchase of 3 submarines is absurd. Once again, these antique government officials are giving cause to the younger generation to stand up and demand better governance.  THEY are the problem, not the youth.

Kurt | 23 August 2020 - 09:01:58

I am sure the Chinese are giggling about the sub buy of the Thai. Imagine, Chinese subs with secretly inbuilt devices to plot their positions, perhaps even able to stop propulsion. Perhaps the subs become great Covid-19 breeding 'grounds'.

Fascinated | 22 August 2020 - 12:06:52

The subs are not about maritime security but willy-waving.  The depth of the Gulf of Thailand is too shallow and there are no threats to the west.

Paddy | 22 August 2020 - 10:34:00

Maybe Mr. Happy bought it for his escape back to his buddies in China , insanity and people starving here.

 

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