Party spokeswoman Pannika Wanich and 13 other Future Forward MPs – some of the many who reported approaches – held a briefing on Tuesday (June 4) to disclose attempts to turn FFP MPs, almost all of whom are first-timers, into “cobras”.
In Thai political terms, a cobra is an MP of one party who defects to another for money or other incentives.
She said the methods ranged from offers of cash and positions to direct and indirect threats.
Ms Pannika claimed the attempts had been financed by large business groups who supported the military coup.
Pathum Thani MP Anawin Rattanastaporn said he was approached twice. The first time he was offered B30mn – B25mn upfront and B5mn after the PM vote. “I turned it down. They later doubled the bid, but again, I said no,” he said.
Bangkok MP Taopiphob Limjittrakorn, who champions beer production liberalisation, said he was first offered B30 million through acquaintances.
“They did not give up and upped the bid to B50mn, B70mn and, last week, B120mn. I turned them all down and told them no price can be put on democracy in this country. People’s trust definitely is worth more than B120mn,” he said.
Khon Kaen MP Thitinan Sangnak said he was invited to meet a puyai [senior figure] at the deputy party leader level but turned the offer down. The latest bid was B5mn upfront, B75mn after the vote and a B200,000 monthly salary, he said.
Ms Pannika said by now it was clear Palang Pracharath was attempting to form a government from 150 votes. Since they could not survive going forward with these votes, they have to buy them from MPs of other parties.
“The success of an MP, regardless of which party he’s with, comes from working to protect people’s interests and forming a government to solve people’s chronic problems, not by cobbling together 20 MPs for B400-500mn. FFW is confident our MPs are bound by ideology and there’s no ‘cobra’ in the party.”
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