Bangkok (The Nation/ANN) - Thailand's Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the opposition would move to oppose a much-talked-about reconciliation legislation, as it believes the bill aims to whitewash individuals who committed wrongdoing by people connected to the government.
Abhisit was speaking following reports that the bill would be tabled for House deliberation this week.
He said the content of the bill did not aim to bring about reconciliation, but only to benefit people connected to the government.
"I feel concerned about the content of the bill. Many people viewed it and found it unacceptable because it destroys the legal system and justice system. The government is determined to systematically process the legislation and ignore problems faced by the public that are more urgent, such as the rising cost of living. The bill should be suspended and a committee should be appointed to look at it," he said.
Abhisit and Nakhon Si Thammarat Democrat MPs also took to the stage at a ceremony to open a school there, calling on locals to oppose the reconciliation bill.
"The government is pushing for constitutional amendment and the reconciliation bill to whitewash people who committed offences during the political turmoil, remove the party dissolution law and help Thaksin Shinawatra over his corruption cases. The Democrat Party strongly opposes this and will do everything possible to object to the law if it is tabled in the House this week," he said.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied that the Pheu Thai Party was pushing for the reconciliation bill to be tabled for parliamentary deliberation on Wednesday and Thursday, saying the party had not resolved the matter and that other parties - not Pheu Thai - handled the bill. She said Pheu Thai had not discussed the bill, but the ruling party would not issue a law to benefit one person.
Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsab said Matubhum Party leader Sonthi Boonyaratglin had made a careful decision before tabling the reconciliation bill for House deliberation.
He was responding to a move by a group of MPs and senators who are seeking a Constitution Court ruling on whether the reconciliation bill violates Article 309 of the Constitution.
Jirayu denied that the bill aims to restore to Thaksin all the money confiscated from him by the state, and deniedthat Assets Examination Committee (AEC) cases against Thaksin would be dropped as alleged.
Election Commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said Parliament must discuss whether the reconciliation bill aims to whitewash those who committed wrongdoing in AEC cases. She had no comment on whether the bill was aimed at nullifying the AEC and all its rulings, based on the fact that the agency was established by a coup-installed government.
"This issue must be discussed in Parliament. I have not seen the reconciliation bill, but I believe that it aims to bring about amnesty and rehabilitation," she said.
Asked if she agreed that the bill was aimed at "whitewashing" individuals who committed offences, Sodsri said the issue was reconciliation and compromise.
"Any law can be passed if Parliament approves it. For those who want to oppose the law, they have to think about whether the country can move forward by doing that. We have to turn to each other and listen to each other's opinions," she said.
Meanwhile, Senator Kamnoon Sithisamarn called on Sonthi to clarify his intention in tabling the reconciliation bill, since he was the one who established the AEC to investigate Thaksin, but now wants the House to pass a bill that, according to Kamnoon, would give Thaksin legitimacy.
"Anyone can cite reconciliation, but the legal procedures must be correct. You cannot write by hand but delete with something else."
If the bill aims to whitewash Thaksin, he said it would face public opposition both inside and outside Parliament. And the amnesty law must distinguish between protest leaders and regular people, and not involve Thaksin.