Thailand: Details of the Yingluck CabinetBy Bangkok Pundit Aug 10, 2011 2:20AM UTC
UPDATE: Added some details about new Foreign Minister…
1. Yingluck Shinawatra (นางสาวยิ่งลักษณ์ ชินวัตร), Prime Minister (Puea Thai)
BP: Need one anything more?
2. Yongyuth Wichaidit (ยงยุทธ วิชัยดิษฐ์), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior (Puea Thai)
BP: Not surprising. He will be the one to guide the new government and particularly Yingluck in dealing with the bureaucracy. He is the behind-the-scenes person. He is current Puea Thai party leader. He was the formerly the a career civil servant in the Ministry of Interior rising to become the top-ranking civil servant (Permanent Secretary) of the Interior Ministry. He has served as Advisor to the Interior Minister in 2008. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political science of the Chulalongkorn University and a master’s degree of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA).
3. Chalerm Yubamrung (รตอ.เฉลิม อยู่บำรุง), Deputy Prime Minister (Puea Thai)
BP: Does Chalerm need any introduction? He has gone from Interior Minister in 2008 to potential Justice Minister (warning bells) to a Deputy Prime Minister (sounds important, but he is one of many). Despite his past (because of his past?), he is still very popular with 10-50 Puea Thai MPs who have been pushing for him to get a position so the position they have found for him is Deputy Prime Minister. Now, we will just see what areas of responsibility he will have…
4. Pol. Gen. Kowit Wattana (พล.ต.อ.โกวิทย์ วัฒนะ), Deputy Prime Minister (Outsider).
BP: Former police chief under Thaksin, but known for his royalist credentials. Avudh in The Nation:
By associating himself with a royalist like Kowit, he may expect to quell doubts about his stand on the country’s revered institution.
In addition to a stellar career in the Border Patrol Police, Kowit attended the Army Staff College in 1977, becoming a classmate of HRH the Crown Prince. He was also appointed an officer of the Palace Guards in 1985.
Kowit is expected to devote attention on two issues – the management of the Internal Operations Security Command and work on the deep South via the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre.
BP: One may say he is the link with the establishment. He was also technically one of the coup leaders.
5. Chumpol Silpa-Archa (ชุมพล ศิลปอาชา), Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism and Sports Minister (Chart Thai Pattana)
BP: Banharn’s brother? Enough said. Carries on his role as Tourism and Sports Minister.
6. Kittiratt Na Ranong (นายกิตติรัตน์ ณ ระนอง), Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister (Outsider)
K. Kittiratt has held numerous senior positions in the Thai financial industry, including Chief Investment Officer of Univentures Pcl, Chairman of Cathay Asset Management, President of First Asia Securities Pcl and One Asset Management, as well as spending five years as the President of The Stock Exchange of Thailand.
BP: He has a BS, Economics (Quantitative) Chulalongkorn University and MBA, Finance and International Business, Sasin (Chulalongkorn). He is currently President of Shinwatra University (Thaksin!) and also Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at Sasin and hence his links with Sudarat.
7. Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala (นายธีระชัย ภูวนาถนรานุบาล), Finance Minister (Outsider)
His SEC profile says everything:
Mr. Thirachai was appointed Secretary-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 28, 2003. Prior to that he was Deputy Governor of the Bank of Thailand.
He was born in 1951. He read economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science and received a bachelor degree in 1974. After that he joined Price Waterhouse, London office, and qualified as a Fellow of Chartered Accountants at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Mr. Thirachai started at the Bank of Thailand in 1977. His career over the 26 years covered financial institution supervision, monetary policy and financial market
A source in the capital market said Thirachai in the past year had worked hard to garner international acceptance through participation and speeches delivered at international events.
The fact that he qualified as a candidate for the post of Bank of Thailand governor, before losing the race to incumbent Prasarn Trairatvorakul, proves his sound knowledge of macroeconomics.
“Yes, there are two black spots in his biography: one was his role at the Bank of Thailand during the 1997 financial crisis when the central bank spent a huge sum defending the baht and lost the battle; and the second was the way he handled the scandal involving Shin Corp transactions. But on other fronts, he is qualified for the finance minister job,” said a veteran who asked not to be named.
Thirachai also got by when the SEC was asked to investigate if Yingluck Shinawatra had broken the securities law by an alleged act of perjury on shareholdings. When pressured by Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, he said the office had finished its investigations and completed its responsibility. It’s now the responsibility of other government units, he said. Later, the SEC board of directors endorsed his viewpoint.
“His background at the central bank may help ease potential policy tensions between the finance ministry and the central bank,” said Santitarn Sathirathai, a Singapore-based economist at Credit Suisse Group AG. “A fresh face with an understanding of capital markets and banks is probably what the market will like, too.”
BP: It should be noted he was not purged after the coup so he must have been viewed as relatively neutral.
8. Surapong Tovichakchaikul (นายสุรพงษ์ โตวิจักษ์ชัยกุล), Foreign Minister (Puea Thai)
BP: This is probably the biggest surprise. He was not one of the names mentioned for Foreign Minister. He was a Democrat MP for 4 years in the late 90s. He is known for being outspoken and going on the attack, but he is also related to Thaksin through marriage – his auntie is married to Thaksin’s uncle. He has no foreign affairs background [UPDATE: Bangkok Post reports "serving as chairman of the House foreign affairs committee" - argh his parliamentary profile and others didn't mention that] although lived in the US studying in Ohio (Masters and Doctorate in Civil Engineering)* for a number of years. If things with Cambodia start going sour many will start to question whether he has enough experience to deal with the issue. On the other hand, if things improve then his lack of experience will not matter much.
9. MD. Surawit Konsomboon (นพ.นายสุรวิทย์ คนสมบูรณ์), Prime Minister’s Office Minister (Puea Thai)
10. Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa (พล.อ.ยุทธศักดิ์ ศศิประภา), Defense Minister (Puea Thai)
BP: Military will be relatively pleased. It is not Gen. Prawit. He certainly has ties to Thaksin per his Wikipedia profile:
General Yuthasak served Royal Thai Army until earned title Major General in 1985 for Army Reserve Force Students chief of staff. In 1990 he was promoted as Lieutenant General and General in 1996, when he was director-general for Office of Policy and Planning, Ministry of Defence (Thailand). He was permanent secretary of Ministry of Defence from 1 October 1996 until retired in 1998.
General Yuthasak entered in politics by joined Thai Rak Thai Party and was elected as party list MP. In 2001, he was deputy defence minister in Thaksin Shinawatra’s government.
Avudh in The Nation:
Yuthasak’s first task is to complete the military line-up by the end of this month. His handling of military job assignments will be a litmus test for the government’s relations with the military.
As a former permanent secretary for Defence with wide social connections, Yuthasak has all the right qualifications to keep soldiers in their barracks.
BP: He is unlikely to rock the boat….
11. Santi Promphat (นายสันติ พร้อมพัฒน์), Social Development and Human Security Minister (Puea Thai),
12. Theera Wongsamut (นายธีระ วงศ์สมุทร), Agriculture Minister (Chart Thai Pattana),
13. ACM Sukampol Suwannathat (พล.อ.อ.สุกำพล สวรรณทัต), Transport Minister (Puea Thai?),
14. Preecha Somboonsuk (นายปรีชา เร่งสมบูรณ์สุข), Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (Puea Thai)
15. Captain Anudit Nakorntap (น.อ.อนุดิษฐ์. นาครทรรพ), Minister of Communications and Information Technology – (Puea Thai)
16. Pichai Naripthaphan (นายพิชัย นริพทะพันธุ์ รมว.พลังงาน), Energy Minister (Puea Thai)
17. Pracha Promnok (พล.ต.อ.ประชา พรหมนอก), Justice Minister (Puea Thai)
18. Phadermchai Sasomsub (นายเผดิมชัย สะสมทรัพย์), Labour Minister (Puea Thai)
19. Sukumol Kunpluem (นางสุกุมล คุณปลื้ม), Culture Minister (Palangchon)
20. Plodprasob Suraswadi (นายปลอดประสพ สุรัสวดี), Science and Technology Minister (Puea Thai).
21. Witthaya Buranasiri (นายวิทยา บูรณศิริ), Public Health Minister (Puea Thai)
22. M.D. Wannarat Charnnukul (นพ.วรรณรัตน์ ชาญนุกูล), Industry Minister (Chart Pattana Puea Pandin)
23. Kritsana Seehalak (นางสาวกฤษณา สีหลักษณ์), Prime Minister’s Office Minister (Puea Thai)*
BP: There are also 12 Deputy Ministers, and per The Nation, they are all from Puea Thai.
A. There is a coalition government, but Chat Thai Pattana mostly keep their previous positions (Tourism and Agriculture) with Chart Pattana Puea Pandin and Palangchon getting one ministerial post each. It shows the relative strength of Puea Thai although Banharn won’t be complaining about getting Agriculture…
B. No red shirts. Not a single one in the end. Col. Apiwan stated he withdrew his name after he was linked with becoming Deputy PM to keep all sides happy. Whether that was just a face-saving measure or not, the red shirts will expect other positions.
C. Strong outsiders for the Commerce and Finance positions. Given events elsewhere in the world and the need to implement campaign promises.
D. Defence will likely do the job.
E. Most of the others, no one really stands out as likely to be a star performer. It is really Foreign Minister for which Puea Thai will be severely questioned whether they have got the right person. They could easily have stuck in a former Ambassador and it wouldn’t have been an issue. We will have to wait and see if he gets a Vice-Minister or some experienced advisors…
F. Some mismatched Ministers who are not in their exact area of expertise ie. Plodprasob Suraswadi, a former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, so would be perfect for that role. However, he has got Science and Technology then again he has a Doctorate in Ecology from Canada so has a background in Science. There are a few others who would seem a better fit in another Ministry.
btw, comments enabled (it is actually technically quite difficult as can’t enable them on main computer that BP uses)…