The coalition parties, led by PPP, on September 17, abandoning the bold Samak, voted Somchai Wongsawat to be the 26th PM of Thailand. Somchai, under the strong influence of his wife and the wife's brother Thaksin, has picked up people for his cabinet. Most are former ministers in Samak's cabinet with a few outsiders.
The characteristics of this cabinet are mostly the unqualified, the incompetent, the inexperience, the greedy corruptors and proxies of banned politicians. The only rationales for those rewarding posts are just to secure the numbers of supporting votes from MPs under each faction,and never ever for the sake of the nation. Competency, qualifications, ethics or background experience of each candidate have never been put into consideration of PM Somchai.
The reason why the characteristic of the cabinet are more or less the same as in previous admittedly-ugly Samak's cabinet, is that the objectives have not changed at all under the same Thaksin and Pojaman Shinawatra's control, i.e., to amend the constitution to launder Thaksin's family and the penalized Thaksin's cronies while earning the most through mega-projects in order to be prepared for vote-buying in the coming-soon election while the administrative power is in their hands.
In the previous Samak's cabinets, amidst the formidable rising inflation, a medical doctor Surapong Suebwonglee with expertise in cosmetics and definitely without experience in finance, was put in the Minister of Finance post. A housewife proxy of a penalized TRT politician, Ranongrak Suwanchawee, another inexperienced, was put in the Deputy Minister of Finance post. A lawyer spokesman of Thaksin, wihtout experience in international diplomatics, Noppadon Pattama was put in a Minister of Foreign Affairs post just to create a border dispute with Cambodia to settle Thaksin's personal deal. And amidst the rocking fuel prices, Maj-General Poonpirom Liptapanlop, a housewife proxy of penalized TRT politician Suwat Liptapanlop, was put in the Minister of Energy post. A proxy of a political verteran, Snoh Thienthong, his housewife Uraiwan, was put in the Minister of Culture post.
An educationally-unqualified Santi Prompat was put in the Minister of Transport post. Chaiya Sasomsap, being a powerful local politician in the west, was first put in the Minister of Health post just to inflict on the national health stuctures. Shortly after he got into the post, he was disqualified by Constitutional Court but was put back again in the Minister of Commerce post. Somchai Wongsawat, as an ex-judge and retired head of civial servants in justice, acting as a proxy of his powerful wife, Yaowapa Wongsawat, was put in a Minister of Education post.
The rest of the cabinet were also more or less incompetent and did nothing for the sake of the country during their terms. However, they altogether have managed to achieve some minor goals to please Thaksin. Lots of top civil servants in key departments and boards of state enterprises, Board of Bank of Thailand, Board of Stock Exchange of Thailand, Department of Special Investigation, the military, the police, office of atorney general, the revenue department have been replaced by Thaksin's people. Sunai Manomaiudom, an honest former judge in the position of head of Department of Investigation was acutely arrested on libel charge and purged from the post because he was interogating Thaksin's case. Several mega-projects including new House of Parliament buildings at Kiak Kai and purchasing of new 6,000 NGV-driven buses totally cost over one hundred million baht have been approved.
Nepotism and cronyism remain the principles in the new Thaksin's proxy cabinet . What makes a minor difference this time in Somchai's Cabinet is the emerging dominance and internal power-play by the north faction led by the banned Yaowapa Wongsawat and Yongyuth Tiyapairat to get rid of the lower northeast faction of the banned Nevin Chidchob. As a result, the party secretariat, Surapong Suebwonglee, under Nevin's support was purged from the Finance Ministry only to be replaced by an inexperienced economist university scholar Dr.Suchart Thadathamrongvech who was a Deputy Minister of Finance in previous cabinet.
The housewife Ministers, namely Uraiwan, Anongwan, and Ranongrak, have marched back into the same seats except Poolpirom who is replaced by a medical doctor Wanarat Chanukul, to look after Minister of Energy and hence fuel crisis. Sompong Amornwiwat, former Minister of Justice, wihtout experience and qualifications in international diplomatics, is put in a Minister of Foreign Affairs. A week later when he flew to New York for a UN meeting, he was uncomfortably and awkardly speechless when asked by a foreign press.
Chalerm Yoobamroong, an incompetent but boastful ex-police, once purged from the first Samak's cabinet, without foundation in health science and health management, is put into the Minister of Health post. Inexperience Varawut Silapaarcha is awarded a Deputy Minister of Transport post just because he is the only son of the chief Banharn of Chart Thai party and this ministry is with the highest construction budgets from which Banharn has long been flourishing from. A retired top ranking police Pracha Promnok, without experience in industry, was put in Minister of Industry post.
With any cabinet reshuffle, there are always tough fights and stabs in the backs for ministerial posts within the coalition(s), the party(s) and the faction(s). This time, tough fights have been in PPP alone. Despite of Thaksin's knife in Nevin's back, Nevin is not dead yet and has shown his retaliation power by several tricks. Since the new cabinet was formed, three house sessions have been cancelled because of a large number of Nevin's MPs' boycott. Nevin's sponsoring UDD mob and Prachatas weekly journals have turned their attacks upon PM Somchai's cabinet.
Eventually, PM Somchai had a very difficult time to declare his administrative policy in his first House meeting within fifteen days since he was elected in PM post. It was October 7, 2008 only two days before the deadline. PAD marched around the House of Parliament to protest and obstruct the cabinet and the MPs. PM Somchai authorized the police to use violence force against PAD which resulted in two murdered, several had limbs shattered and more than 700 injured.
Several decisive questions for the public to judge Somchai's decency such as requesting extradition of Thaksin, revocation of diplomatic passports of Thaksin's family and Preah Vihear border dispute are awaiting for this softly-speaking and ambiguous but brutal PM.
On top of these, PM Somchai has been alleged of being unqualified as an MP (and hence a disqualified PM) because of conflicts of interests in possessing telecommunication shares as well as bribing of Constitutional Court Judges in 2001 to help Thaksin out of falsifying assets disclosure charge. The cabinet of greed does not seem to have a good prospect.
Why Somchai is to be Kicked Out