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Pattaya Daily News

03 June 2009 :: 21:06:28 pm 27185

PM Abhisit In Catch 22 Dilemma Over Bus-Leasing Controversy

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's coalition government stands once again at the threshold of dissolution. Four potential projects look set to either consolidate or fragment his precarious coalition government: the rice subsidy programme, 3G telecom, the airport and now the controversial bus leasing project.
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The plan to lease 4,000 NGV buses at a cost of Bt67 billion is not new, it first saw the light of day under the Samak Sundaravej government. Although it is in line with PM Abhisit’s ecologically-sensitivity project, it is generally regarded as being economically unviable and some see it as having prime potential for graft and rake off, notably Senator Rossana Tositrakul.

PM Abhisit is in a veritable Catch 22 situation, damned if he supports the project and damned if he doesn’t. The problem is that his coalition partners want to see the project go through and have threatened to renege against the Democrats by voting against any legislation, especially the budget bill for fiscal 2010 due to be debated in the middle of June. Breaking up the fragile coalition could well jeopardize the whole government.

On the other hand, 40 senators out of a total of 150, are threatening to petition for the cabinet’s removal if the project goes ahead, maintaining they can accumulate up 20,000 signatures to support their quest. Senator Rossana Tositrakul said, on Tuesday, ”We want the government to have the courage to scrap it and not to fear that the party would withdraw from the coalition.

In addition, backing the project would almost certainly blacken PM Abhisit’s reputation, as well as alienating several dozen PAD MPs who might well defect to join Sondhi Limthongkul’s new party in the come-up to the next election. Meanwhile, PM Abhisit has told Transport Minister Sophon to revise the budget for the bus-leasing due to what are seen as excessive rental and maintenance fees.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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