Matchima backs surprise appointment
The Matchima group admitted yesterday that they were surprised by the appointment of Somkid Jatusripitak as head of a foreign economic relations committee.
Senior member Sophon Phetsawang said he and other members never knew Somkid would join the interim regime. However, he was delighted the government appreciated the former finance minister and deputy premier's talents.
The Matchima - which was the Wang Nam Yom faction in the previous government - said they wanted Somkid to lead their new party, but he has yet to decide on their offer.
Somkid said yesterday that he had been contacted by many political groups to join with them since he quit the Thai Rak Thai Party.
He told reporters after giving a speech at Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University yesterday that he would join a group considered to be useful for the country.
He would make a final decision on his political future after the new constitution was drawn up.
Sophon said members of the Matchima group had quality and never made trouble with Thai Rak Thai or the new government. He said Somkid's appointment was not a problem for the group.
And if Somkid wanted to form a new party, the Matchima group was ready to join him.
Former TRT senior member Somchai Sunthornvut, a close ally of Somkid, said the former finance minister had no hidden agenda in working for the new government.
"The government acknowledges Somkid's ability. Somkid did some outstanding work in the last government, which caused this government to decide to appoint him to look after sufficiency economy," he said.
Somchai said Somkid might form a new party if Thai Rak Thai was not dissolved. But if the Constitution Tribunal ruled that Thai Rak Thai must be dissolved, party executives would be banned for five years.
"He has done this for the benefit of the country even though he may be blamed for changing his colours," his colleague said.
Somchai said Somkid and his supporters never surrendered to the junta, they only wanted to assist the government to explain the sufficiency economy philosophy to foreign countries.
Thai Rak Thai officials, meanwhile, said the move showed the new regime appreciated people from the former government.
"Somkid's ability proved that he can work for the country and his name has been acknowledged by foreign countries," said Pongthep Thepkanchana.
However, he refused to comment on suggestions the military wants to work with the Matchima Group - and Somkid - in a bid to retain some power in a future government.