BANGKOK — The government on Monday said it is considering a legal action against a disbanded opposition party for linking the Prime Minister to a massive embezzlement in Malaysia.
Government spokeswoman Naruemon Pinyosinwat said the accusations made by the Future Forward Party, which alleged that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha helped cover up Malaysia’s 1MDB investment fund scandal, are groundless, though a party official maintained she has evidence to back up her claims.
“I insist that the accusations are untrue,” Naruemon said. “It is causing public confusion, and relevant authorities are considering a legal action against them. We will make an announcement later.”
Other key members of the government including PM Prayut himself dismissed the opposition’s claim.
“Let relevant authorities do their job,” Prayut said. “If it’s false, we have to sue them back.”
Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika Wanich accused Prayut of forming a “dark alliance” with former Malaysian leader Najib Razak to arrest the whistleblower in Thailand, and harbor the alleged mastermind from prosecution in Malaysia.
Responding to threats made by the government against her faction, Pannika on Monday said she is disappointed with the reaction.
“People want the truth, but all they did was threaten to sue us,” she said in an interview. “If they have evidence to refute our claims, then present it to the public.”
Pannika hinted that the party has more evidence to reveal.
“Sunday’s new conference is just a slice of what we have gathered,” she said. “We will continue to push this forward.”
At the news conference held yesterday, Pannika said Thai authorities denied the FBI, who is investigating the case, access to the imprisoned Xavier Justo, a Swiss national who leaked information related to the graft.
She also said the government allowed Low Taek Jho, a Malaysian national who is the alleged mastermind behind the scandal, to repeatedly visit Thailand despite being issued an Interpol “Red Notice” at Singapore’s request.
The revelation was billed by the now-defunct party as “Censure Debate Outside Parliament,” and came ahead before Monday’s launch of censure debate against Prayut and five other Cabinet members.
In response to Pannika’s allegation, deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan said the government has no involvement with the wrongdoing, while foreign minister Don Pramudwinai said the accusations are “completely erroneous.”
Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen also said police are studying Pannika’s remarks to see whether there was any libelous material.
“The case had taken place almost six years ago, I don’t understand how they can relate it to the government,” Col. Kissana said. “Our investigators are looking into the case to see whether the information presented has been distorted.”