In a Defense Ministry meeting via video conference earlier today, news reports claimed Deputy Defense Minister General Chaicharn Changmonkol proposed for the cabinet to approve the purchase of an LPD class amphibious transport dock from China. The ship is estimated to cost around THB6.1 billion.
The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha in his capacity as Defense Minister.
The news was met with a public outcry, which prompted a Royal Thai Navy spokesperson to deny the report. However, in the same embedded link, Matichon Online also provided a document showing the proposal for a naval ship was made. As well, Matichon said the agreement for the purchase was made by the Royal Thai Navy in November last year.
Nevertheless, the controversy ended as reports say the Defense Ministry has decided to withdraw the proposal.
As the nation is in grip of the COVID-19 outbreak, for several days #กูสั่งให้มึงเลิกซื้ออาวุธ (I told you to stop buying weapons) has been trending.
Thailand is currently suffering from a shortage in face masks and test kits. As well, citizens, who lose their jobs due to the shutdown of businesses, are in need of financial assistance.
Yesterday, Thammasat University’s Assistant Professor Doctor Prajak Kongkirati tweeted the following:
“Every trillion baht used to purchase weapons is a trillion baht that can be used to buy foods for children, medicines for the sick and medical equipment for doctors. This is the reason why the Peace Study refers to such state expenditure as Structural Violence.”