Ministry of Defence
The Defence Minister is looking to spend 3.2 billion baht more on new fighter jets On 1 August 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy junta head and Defence Minister, told the media before the weekly cabinet meeting that the Ministry will inform the cabinet about plans to spend 3.2 billion baht on four F-5 Mod fighter jets.
The Office of the Ombudsman of Thailand (OOT) has dismissed allegations of irregularities in the junta’s multi-billion baht submarine deal with China. Raksagecha Chaechai, Secretary-General of the OOT, announced that the OTT found no irregularities in the 13.5 billion baht submarine procurement of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), concluding that is not unconstitutional. He said a five-member committee tasked with investigating the matter concluded that the procurement was done in accordance with national strategic defence policy and that the RTN proposed the procurement.
The Ministry of Defence has claimed that soldiers merely asked for cooperation from a high-school student activist who was visited by plainclothes soldiers.
After spending billions on submarines and tanks, the Ministry of Defence is planning to spend another 8.8 billion baht on new fighter jets for the Air Force. On 10 July 2017, the Ministry of Defence revealed that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Defence Minister, will submit a proposal to the cabinet meeting on 11 July to procure eight T-50TH fighter jets from South Korea for the Royal Thai Air Force. The deal will cost the country about 8.8 billion baht.
The junta’s cabinet has given the greenlight to the Ministry of Defence to spend 2.3 billion baht for buying tanks from China. On 13 June 2017, the cabinet approved 2.3 billion baht budget for buying 34 VN-1 tanks from the People’s Republic of China according to Voice TV. The government claimed that the procurement is necessary for replacing the obsolete tanks.
Despite a growing deficit, Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament has voted unanimously in favour of a draft government budget that allocates an extra 8.8 billion baht to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2018.
Despite a growing deficit, Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament has voted unanimously in favour of a draft government budget that allocates an extra 8.8 billion baht to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2018. On 8 June 2017, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the country’s junta, dedicated two and a half hours to clarifying to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) the details of a draft government budget of 2.99 trillion baht for 2018. 220 billion baht is allocated to the MoD, an increase from last year of 8.8 billion baht
A former member of the parliament (MP) from the Democrat Party says that more than half of Thailand’s military conscripts end up as servants for high-ranking military officers. On 4 April 2017, Wilat Chantarapitak, a former Democrat Party MP and former advisor to a parliamentary anti-corruption committee, told the media that the military conscription system in Thailand is in crisis.
After spending billions of baht on submarines from China, the Defence Ministry now plans to buy more tanks for the Army. At the Cabinet meeting on 4 April 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Defence Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and deputy junta head, said the cabinet will not discuss the plan to spend 36 billion baht on three ‘Yuan Class S26T’ submarines from China. He said the Defence Ministry’s Permanent Secretary’s Office still needs to check the details of the submarine procurement contract.
The Thai government has asked Laotian authorities to deport Thais wanted for lèse majesté. On 31 January 2017, Gen Thawip Netniyom, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, announced to media plans to travel to Laos to seek cooperation from the country’s government in monitoring the activities of certain Thai nationals. A group of five to six Thais residing in Laos are producing radio programs deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy, said Thawip.