Give them an 'F'

Bangkok voters have said that if the cabinet were a 36-member classroom, the entire student body would fail.

The Bangkok University's Bangkok Poll last week interviewed 1,228 people in the capital and asked them what they thought of the members - who was good, who was bad.

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Sangsuwan scored the highest. Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was at the very bottom, just a little worse than second-worst cabinet member and Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

But the news was actually all bad. Mr Mingkwan was merely best out of a cabinet where every minister got a failing grade.

Asked to rate the ministers on a scale of 10, respondents to the poll game Mr Mingkwan just 4.96, not even the 50 per cent needed for a minimum passing grade of D-minus. Second "best" was Tourism and Sports Minister Weerasak Kohsurat with 4.93 points and Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Somsak Prissananantakul with 4.91 points.

Mr Samak got just over 40 per cent down near the bottom - a grade of 4.04 from Bangkokians - and Mr Chalerm managed to outdo him, with an horrendous 3.39 score out of 10 to finish behind every one of his 35 cabinet colleagues.

The poll also asked Bangkokians about the issues, and found that 77.7 per cent currently believe that the most important problem for the country and government is the domestic economy. Violence in the South ranked right behind, with an importance rating of 75.2 out of 100, and corruption was ranked as the third most pervasive problem with a score of 71.8.

Respondents were asked to rank each problem and total scores for each selection were totalled.

The poll was conducted to rate government performance after three months in office. Mr Samak and ministers officially came to power on Feb 6.

( with reports by TNA)