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Plodprasop Suraswadi Challenges Thai Senators’ Costly Global Tours as Term Ends

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Last year, amidst the hallowed halls of parliament, MPs and senators gathered, perhaps unaware that their future travels would stir up a storm of controversy. Just as their terms are drawing to a sunset on May 10, plans for globe-trotting adventures, with price tags soaring into millions of baht, have sparked outrage among the public and elicited cautionary advice from prominent figures.

Enter Plodprasop Suraswadi, a former deputy prime minister with a voice loud and clear, and Senator Seree Suwanpanont, known for his frankness. Both have raised the alarm, urging senators to reconsider their international escapades. Suraswadi, peering through the looking glass of scrutiny, revealed that these exploratory voyages would drain 81 million baht from the state’s coffers. With the hands of the clock ticking down to the end of their Senate tenure, embarking on these trips seems to defy logic.

From the whispers within the corridors of power, it has emerged that a committee focused on the might and safety of the nation, led by the stalwart Gen Boonsang Niempradit, has Kazakhstan and Georgia in its sights for early May. Their mission? Bilateral meetings. But that’s not where the story ends. Other senators are casting their nets wider, with itineraries that include Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia, and even a sojourn focused on artificial intelligence in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia, stretching into early June.

“Believe me once, will you?” Suraswadi implores, voicing a plea tinged with camaraderie and concern. His message is clear: cancel these journeys or risk tarnishing the integrity that has been your companion.

In the face of criticism, Gen Boonsang stands unfazed, his conviction as unwavering as a lighthouse against the storm. He argues that these are not frivolous escapades at the taxpayer’s expense but pilgrimages in pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment that promise to illuminate their future endeavors.

The justification for the expenditure, according to him, lies in the scale and the scope. The COVID-19 pandemic had previously placed constraints on such ventures, which, in his view, explains the timing. “These are not leisure trips embarked upon as a last hurrah,” he asserts, hinting at a past where decisions suffered from the absence of first-hand experience and understanding.

Yet, not all are ready to set sail under this banner. Senator Seree, wielding caution like a beacon, reminds his peers of the need to tread carefully when it comes to public funds. His voice echoes a sentiment of responsibility and restraint, having long championed the cause to cancel all such exploratory ventures of the Senate.

In an echoing chamber, voices of dissent and concern find their way to the forefront. Move Forward Party’s MP Jirat Thongsuwan raises an eyebrow at the perceived value of these trips, questioning the return on investment for the taxpayer. “Time is of the essence,” he notes, pondering over the tangible benefits these trips would bring back home for national development. Yet, he concedes, transparency could potentially clear the murky waters of doubt surrounding these outings.

Jirat’s voice, laden with worry, also hints at a future where the coffers might not be as generous for the new Senate, pondering the sustainability of such foreign study tours.

As the debate rages on, the story of the Senate’s last voyage before the curtain falls on their term unfolds. It is a saga entwined with questions of fiscal prudence, the quest for knowledge, and the delicate balance between duty and desire. Through the din of criticism and defense, one thing remains clear: the journey, whether embarked upon or not, has already etched its narrative in the annals of public discourse, leaving a trail of thought-provoking questions in its wake.


  1. JohnD April 20, 2024

    It’s absolutely appalling to see public funds wasted like this. Senators should be focused on improving the country, not globetrotting on the taxpayer’s dime.

    • SallyM April 20, 2024

      But isn’t it possible that these trips could actually benefit the country by fostering international relations and bringing back valuable knowledge?

      • JohnD April 20, 2024

        I guess you have a point, SallyM. But the timing and the extravagant cost just make it look like a holiday spree before their term ends. It’s hard to see it as purely educational.

      • KevinBlake April 20, 2024

        Exactly, JohnD! There’s a huge difference between necessary diplomatic trips and what appears to be a farewell tour at the country’s expense. Transparency is key here.

    • GeorgiaFan123 April 20, 2024

      Visiting countries like Georgia and Kazakhstan for ‘bilateral meetings’ sounds more like an excuse for a paid vacation. They should be held accountable for public spending!

      • SallyM April 20, 2024

        While accountability is important, we shouldn’t dismiss the potential for meaningful diplomacy. Maybe the outcome of these trips will surprise us.

  2. MaxTechie April 20, 2024

    I’m intrigued by the mention of a trip focused on artificial intelligence in Finland, Sweden, and Estonia. Those countries are at the forefront of tech. This could actually be a golden opportunity for collaboration.

    • RealistRaj April 20, 2024

      In theory, yes, but what guarantees do we have that the senators will effectively utilize what they learn? There’s a track record of inefficiency and under-utilization of such findings.

  3. Bryce W April 20, 2024

    Defending these trips as a pursuit of knowledge and enlightenment is a rather lofty justification for spending millions. Plenty of virtual meetings and conferences offer the same without the hefty price tag.

  4. Laura_J April 20, 2024

    It’s easy to judge from the outside. Maybe if they cancel the trips and focus on internal issues with that budget, we might see rapid improvements in local projects.

    • IzzyK April 20, 2024

      Wishful thinking, Laura_J. Even if the money is reallocated, there’s little guarantee it would be spent more wisely. It’s all about priorities, and sadly, they often don’t align with the public’s needs.

  5. PhilosophyGuy April 20, 2024

    This situation highlights a broader philosophical debate about the role of government officials and their responsibility to taxpayers. Where should the line be drawn between necessary expenditure and wasteful extravagance?

  6. PolicyWonk April 20, 2024

    Senator Seree and Plodprasop Suraswadi are on the right side of history here. Issuing warnings and urging reconsideration shows they understand the value of public trust and fiscal responsibility.

  7. DissentingVoice April 20, 2024

    Arguing over this misses the bigger picture. The Senate’s overall budget and spending need an overhaul, not just a cutback on travel expenses.

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