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List of job nominees worsens PPP divide

The rift between People Power Party's MPs in Bangkok and the Northeast is getting worse, because of the allocation of secretaries to ministers, sources said yesterday.

Published on February 14, 2008

Prime Minister Samak Sundara-vej rejected a proposed list of secretaries on Monday, citing problems with image and qualifications.

A source said the list of secretaries representing people from the North, Central and Northeast did not cause any hassles, but problems stemmed from secretaries proposed within the Bangkok MP quota. He said many of the people put forward were inexperienced and some had failed as MP candidates.

Citing the proposal of Wan Yoobamrung as secretary to deputy health minister, they reasoned that even though Wan had earned a master's degree, Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung had picked the wrong time to nominate his son because the government needed experienced hands to help it make a good start.

According to the list, Kamol Bandaipet is proposed as deputy secretary-general to a deputy PM; Leelawadee Watcharobol would be an adviser to the education minister; Nalinee Thaweesin would be an adviser to the commerce minister, Poowanida Kunplin would be deputy secretary-general to the prime minister; Pakdihan Himathongkam would be secretary to a deputy PM and Mana Kongwutpanya would be an adviser to the natural resources minister.

Suwat Wannasirikul, chairman of PPP's Bangkok MPs coordinating committee, said if Samak rejected the proposed names, the group would review the list. However, he believed the people put forward were qualified and had extensive experience.

"Many of the Bangkok MP candidates failed because they were fighting an uphill battle in the elections, and provincial MPs won easily because of the positive sentiment for the PPP."

He denied reports that Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, one of the 111 banned Thai Rak Thai executives, was involved in the list of proposed applicants.

Meanwhile, a PPP MP from the Northeast disputed the claim that he and other elected MPs from the region had capitalised on the party's popularity.

"We all had to stand before the barrel of a gun, especially those who were under the watch of powerful figures. If we were not tough, we could not have come this far," Buri Ram MP Sanong Thep-aksornnarong said. Isaan MPs were not given many Cabinet posts, he said, because they were looked down upon.

"We are treated like the children of a minor wife. It is not the first time that this has happened to us," he said. However, he hoped this time justice would prevail.

A conflict sparked earlier this month when Northeast MPs cried foul over what they believed was an unfair allocation of Cabinet seats, claiming they had brought the party its biggest election victory but were not given enough Cabinet posts in return.

Samak managed to bridge the rift by promising that they would be given posts in House committees.

The Nation

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