PPP questions Samak on letting police treat Thaksin like a common criminal

A group of 200 MPs from the People Power Party circulated Monday an open letter demanding to know why the police were distributing warrants for the arrest of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife Khunying Pojaman.

"The letter wants Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to explain why the police has been encouraged to openly treat Thaksin and Pojaman like ordinary criminals," MP Songkhram Kitlertpairoj said.

He and his fellow MPs would be asking the premier to justify his actions at the party meeting today.

"If Samak doesn't show up, we will record our thoughts and criticism on video and give it to later," he said.

At this juncture, he said, the MPs needed to hear Samak's rebuttals before deciding their next move. However, he dismissed speculation about there being any attempts to remove Samak from his post as party leader.

Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri said the party's faction led by Newin Chidchob still saw Samak as the most qualified person as prime minister. However, he added, that Samak could have been approached for an explanation directly instead of the MPs releasing an open letter endorsed by 200 signatures.

He said his faction was in no way involved in the letter nor in the formation of the Puea Thai Party, seen as a backup in case the main coalition party is dissolved.

MP Paijit Sriworakan from the Isaan Pattana faction said he had cosigned the letter because his faction wanted to question the mistreatment inflicted upon Thaksin.

Chiang Mai MP Surapong Towijakchaikul said he and other MPs from the North and Northeast were ready to go under the banner of the Puea Thai Party if their main coalition party were to be disbanded.

"If Samak decides to call a snap election before PPP is dissolved, then the MPs will immediately adopt the Puea Thai banner," he said.

Meanwhile, Khunying Pojanee na Pomphet, Thaksin's motherinlaw, had lunch with several PPP MPs yesterday, but refused to talk to reporters.

Party sources said Pojanee often had lunch with some party officials and MPs because the party's headquarters are located in a building owned by her daughter Pojaman.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Somchai Wongsawat encouraged the move to ask Samak about the arrest warrants, though he denied that it was in any way a showdown between factions in the party and neither was it a move to pressure or challenge Samak's leadership.

Somchai said the MPs just wanted to know why the Royal Thai Police was allowed to humiliate Thaksin and his wife by distributing arrest warrants for them nationwide when they clearly knew that the couple were living in Britain.

The Nation