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Plodprasop Suraswadi and Senators Under Fire for 81 Million Baht Overseas Jaunts as Thai Senate Term Ends

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Last year, the hallowed halls of Thailand’s parliament were aflutter with the bustling energy of MPs and senators gathered for a meeting. Fast forward to today, and the air is thick with controversy. The reason? A series of expensive overseas jaunts planned by senators, all set to unfold as their term ticks down to its May 10 conclusion. The whispers and murmurs have grown into a chorus of outcry, spearheaded by none other than Plodprasop Suraswadi, a figure whose past life as a deputy prime minister imbues his words with a certain gravitas, alongside the famously candid Senator Seree Suwanpanont.

At the heart of the uproar is a staggering 81 million baht earmarked for what some see as farewell tours. Suraswadi, peering through the lens of wisdom only years can bestow, questions the prudence of such travels with less than a month on the Senate’s clock. “Makes little sense,” he quips, a sentiment that seems to echo through the marble corridors.

Let’s zoom in on some of these controversial escapades. One such expedition, led by the Senate’s committee on armed forces and state security under the stewardship of Gen Boonsang Niempradit, charts a course for Kazakhstan and Georgia. Their agenda? Bilateral meetings from May 2-9. But the plot thickens, as another adventure, this time to Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia, is slated for May 14-23—right after the curtains fall on their Senate roles. The list doesn’t end there; a jaunt focusing on artificial intelligence development awaits from May 27 to June 3 in the tech havens of Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.

“Believe me once, will you?” Suraswadi pleads, playing the friend card in hopes of halting these itineraries. His fear? That these trips will tarnish the senators’ legacy.

Yet, not all share this view. Gen Boonsang stands his ground, championing the value of these excursions. He sees them not as swan songs but as quests for knowledge poised to enrich their future endeavors. In his eyes, the 81 million baht price tag is justified by the sheer scale of ambition and learning potential.

Boonsang reminisces about plans thwarted by the pandemic, urging a broader perspective. “These aren’t leisure trips,” he insists, hinting at past legislative mishaps born from a dearth of firsthand experiences. The goal? Fostering bilateral cooperation and, in his case, marking only his second such outing in five years.

Amid this, Seree remains a voice of caution, pushing for fiscal prudence and setting a sterling example when it comes to state budget allocation. His stance is clear: not all trips make the cut.

Outside the Senate, the discourse simmers. Jirat Thongsuwan, a Move Forward Party MP, punctuates the conversation with skepticism. With the Senate’s term vanishing like sand through an hourglass, he questions the tangible benefits of these globe-trotting odysseys for the Thai taxpayer. “There’s no time left,” he points out, proposing transparency as a salve to soothe public concerns.

His insights raise an eyebrow towards the legitimacy of these ‘study trips,’ suggesting a veneer of leisure thinly veiling their true intent. Yet, for the public, the power to halt these excursions seems frustratingly out of reach. Jirat’s concluding thoughts linger on the next Senate, pondering whether the coffers will bear the weight of its global aspirations.

In the end, as the debate rages on, the essence of these overseas sojourns hangs in the balance. Are they a final hurrah, a quest for knowledge, or a blend of both? Only time will tell, but for now, the saga of the senators’ trips continues to captivate and confound in equal measure.


  1. AnnaB April 19, 2024

    Honestly, this sounds like a waste of taxpayer money. With the term ending, why not focus on local issues instead of globe-trotting?

    • MarkT85 April 19, 2024

      You’re missing the point, Anna. These trips could bring back valuable insights that could benefit Thailand in the long run.

      • SimpleJack April 19, 2024

        Valuable insights? More like vacations on the public’s dime. Have they ever shared concrete results from these so-called ‘study trips’?

    • LoyalistFan April 19, 2024

      I think it’s a bit more complex than just calling it a waste. International experience and networks can be very beneficial.

      • AnnaB April 19, 2024

        I get your point, but with the Senate term almost over, it just seems too convenient for it not to be a leisure trip.

  2. ThaiSpirit April 19, 2024

    Let’s not jump to conclusions. These trips could be a way to ensure that Thailand remains competitive on the global stage.

    • Econ101 April 19, 2024

      Competitive, sure, but at what cost? 81 million baht could be invested in so many urgent domestic needs.

      • ThaiSpirit April 19, 2024

        It’s a balancing act, but I trust there’s a strategic plan behind these expenditures, not just short-sighted spending.

  3. GreenWarrior April 19, 2024

    What about the environmental impact of these trips? Flying all over the world is hardly eco-friendly. Leaders should set an example.

    • ModTechie April 19, 2024

      Good point. With all the tech we have, why not hold virtual meetings? Much more sustainable and cost-effective.

  4. BudgetWatcher April 19, 2024

    This is classic governmental overreach. Spending millions as if it’s going out of style. We need transparency and accountability!

    • GovSupporter April 20, 2024

      But isn’t this investment in understanding global trends? We can’t isolate ourselves. The world is more interconnected than ever.

      • SkepticView April 20, 2024

        Global trends? Please, it’s a holiday before they clock out. Why not invest in education or healthcare with that money?

      • BudgetWatcher April 20, 2024

        Exactly my point! There are better, more immediate ways to invest in Thailand’s future.

  5. CivicJoe April 20, 2024

    This debate underscores a larger issue: the disconnect between public servant responsibilities and public perception of value from their actions.

    • MarkT85 April 20, 2024

      A fair point. It shows the need for public officials to better communicate the benefits and outcomes of such trips to the populace.

      • CitizenJane April 20, 2024

        Communication is key, but so is genuine benefit. If the outcomes are vague, it’s hard for the public to see the value.

  6. WatcherOnTheWall April 20, 2024

    I wonder if these senators even consider the optics of this. It’s as if they live in a bubble, unaware of how this looks to the average citizen.

    • RealTalk April 20, 2024

      Optics or not, it’s their actions that count. I’d rather judge them based on what they bring back from these trips. But so far, it’s been silence.

  7. PolicyNerd April 20, 2024

    It’s interesting to note that despite the uproar, trips like these have historically been commonplace. The real question is whether they yield enough public value to justify their cost.

    • AnnaB April 20, 2024

      Historically commonplace doesn’t make it right. The ‘value’ part remains to be seen and I’m skeptical it matches the cost.

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