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Committee expected to shelve Thai navy’s submarine deal

The House Budget Scrutiny Committee is likely to put the Royal Thai Navy’s (RTN) plan to purchase two more Yuan-class submarines from China, at an estimated cost of 22.5 billion baht, on hold for a year.

Mr. Wirat Rattanaseth, a party-list MP from the ruling Palang Pracharat party and vice chairman of the House committee, said today (Sunday) that both opposition and government MPs oppose the RTN’s use of taxpayers’ money, to procure two more submarines, at a time when it could be put to better use.

The procurement plan is now pending with the House Procurement Subcommittee and will be sent back to the House Budget Scrutiny Committee for consideration on Monday.

“I believe all members of the House Budget Scrutiny Committee have in mind what should be done with the submarine deal under the present circumstances,” said Mr. Wirat, adding that Palang Pracharat party Secretary-General Thammanat Pongpao has voiced his objection to the deal.

Several critics and members of the public are also against the submarine deal, pointing out that the money would be better used to fight COVID-19 or to help people affected by impacts of the pandemic.

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