BANGKOK — An opposition-controlled House Committee on Wednesday said the army chief’s hour-long rant against his detractors last week is inappropriate.
Future Forward’s Lt. Gen. Pongsakorn Rodchompoo, who heads the parliament’s committee on national security, said Gen. Apirat Kongsompong’s remarks risk affecting international relations and political impartiality.
Lt. Gen. Pongsakorn said his committee has summoned Apirat to deliver the warning in person, but the army commander has yet to respond to the notice.
“We didn’t summon him for an investigation or anything,” Pongsakorn said today. “We only wanted to inform him … that he should be neutral in politics, and he shouldn’t talk about things that may affect international relations.”
Apirat lashed out at the opposition parties and their allies in a 90-minute speech to army officers on Oct. 11, in which he accused them of plotting to sabotage the monarchy and even harboring Communist sentiment.
In the same speech, Gen. Apirat also criticized the leader of Future Forward Party for meeting and posing for a photo with Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong.
His comments drew much criticism from the opposition, but both Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan said Apirat was merely urging Thais to unite and defend their country.
Pongsakorn said Apirat is not legally bound to answer his committee’s invitation.
“Whether he comes or not, that’s his right,” the politician said.