Yingluck clarifies regarding last week's 'secret' meeting through Facebook

BANGKOK, Feb 23 - Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday clarified through her public Facebook account regarding her Feb 8 meeting with property developers at a Bangkok five-star hotel during working hours, for which she had previously failed to give the public a clear explanation.

Ms Yingluck posted on her Facebook wall that she had not earlier clarified this allegedly 'nonsensical' matter since the beginning because she was not keen on political games.

The meeting between the premier, her Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong, and a group of businesspeople at Four Seasons Hotel sparked criticism amongst the public over possible conflicts of interest and its appropriateness, as it was held while the House was in session.

Political groups petitioned the Ombudsman's Office last week to investigate alleged misconduct by the premier and the deputy prime minister.

Regarding why she did not attend the parliamentary session at the time, Ms Yingluck stated she was aware what matters were on the table during the session but there were no matters that she, as the prime minister, had to participate in order to clarify to the House. She added that she went to the Parliament after the meeting at Four Seasons to listen to and make queries at the session, and signed her name as a member of parliament at 16:16.

Regarding why she did not answer the recent motion of Democrat MP Rangsima Rodrasamee on Feb 16, the premier said she was on duty at flood areas in the central provinces of Lop Buri and Ayutthaya, which had continued since Feb 13. She said she assigned her deputy Gen Yuttasak Sasiprapa to answer the motion on her behalf, which was possible to do according to parliamentary regulations.

Lastly, the prime minister insisted the meeting on Feb 8 was not for personal reasons and that no conflict of interest was involved concerning land expropriation for floodway construction, flood retention areas, and delays on land price estimation.

She said she met with several businesspeople at the hotel's executive club, which was an open space, in order to listen to and exchange ideas on Thailand's financial and political situation for the utmost benefit of the country.

Ms Yingluck continued that there were many witness such as hotel staff and securities. Nonetheless, the businesspeople she was meeting with did not wish to make it publicly known, therefore members of the press and media were not involved. (MCOT online news)
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